Skip to main content

Full text of "Jim Farley S Story"

See other formats

973*91? ?23j 53-^9090 

Keep Your Card in This Pocket 

Boob will be issued only on presentation of proper 
library cards. r 

for nless l aUle t> d otherwls jc e ' books tt r be retained 
or two weeks Borrowers findina books marked de- 
faced or mutilated are expected to report same at 
library desk; otherwise fee last borrower will be held 
responsible for all imperfections discovered 

The card holder is responsible for all books drawn 
on tnis card. 

2o a d 


Public Library 

Kansas City, Mo. 





%e Roosevelt Drears 



The Roosevelt Years 


Roosevelt Drears 





The Roosevelt Years 
Copyright, 1948, by JAMES A, FARLEY 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, 

may not be reproduced in any form without 

permission of the publisher. 


The quality of the materials used in the manufacture 
of this book is governed by continued postwar shortages. 



To my mother 


10 my wife 

to whom I owe everything 

I gratefully acknowledge a heavy 
debt for editorial help to my good 
friend, Walter Trohan of the Chi- 
cago Tribune, who knew almost 
every word of this story for years 
and never broke my confidence 



























26. 1940 CONVENTION 271 







x Contents 





36. FOURTH TERM 3 <-Q 




The Roosevelt 



FOR MORE than a quarter of a century, I have known, personally 
and quite intimately, many men who have made history. 
It is my belief that history should be told by those who had 
a hand in its shaping. I do not propose to dwell on my deeds, but rather 
on my conversations with history makers and on the historical events 
in which I had a part. 

During these decisive years, I kept extensive notes on each day's 
happenings. These were dictated for my own use with no thought 
toward publication. In recent years, friends have urged me to tell my 
story from my papers, insisting I owed it to history. 

This debt I now pay. Whatever my story may lack in wisdom, in 
modesty, or in literary merit, I hope to make up in sincerity and in 
truth, for I am relying not on memory but on a living record. 

Most of my story is concerned with politics, which has occupied 
most of my adult life. I started in politics at the top before I was old 
enough to cast my first vote as a Democratic chairman. For thirty- 
five years thereafter, I continued to be a Democratic chairman town, 
country, state, or nation. In these thirty-five turbulent years, I won 
many triumphs, made thousands of friends, collected tens of thou- 
sands of memories, and enjoyed millions of laughs. I had also a share 
of defeats, suffered many disappointments, nursed a few heartaches, 
but escaped being marked by bitterness or hate. 

Politics brought me honors and prominence from the hands of my 
fellow countrymen. I am too full of gratitude to let malice seep into 
my heart. 

For my story I invoke the same kindly judgment that my fellow 
countrymen have ever accorded me in the past. I have tried to tell the 
story as honestly as I know how, because I have a high regard for the 
truth, and I have found through the years that telling the truth offers 
not only the best but also the easiest way of life. 

2 Jim Farley's story 

I have also tried to make my story a human report on history. I have 
related conversations during important events so that the reader may 
form his own estimate of men and motives, in the light of what has 
happened since the words were uttered. 

My story is being unfolded as I stand at the threshold of my sixtieth 
year. I find that the boy I was is drawing closer to me. With each 
passing year I see more of what I am in what he was. Men are given 
to exaggerate the importance of their birthplace; yet mine had a pro- 
found influence on my life. I was born on May 30, 1888, at Grassy 
Point, New York, in the lower reaches of the majestic Hudson River 
valley. My father, James Farley, was born at Verplanck's Point in 
Westchester County, New York, the son of John and Margaret Far- 
ley, who migrated from Castletown, County Meath, Ireland, in 1847. 
He died suddenly and tragically before my tenth birthday. My mother, 
Ellen Goldrick Farley, was born at Haverstraw in Rockland County, 
the daughter of John and Rose Goldrick, who came to America from 
Ireland in 1847 or 1848. 1 was the second of five boys, the others being 
John, Phil, Tom, and Bill. 

My schooling began at the age of five in the Grassy Point Grammar 
School, which I attended through the seventh grade, when I trans- 
ferred to the Stony Point Grammar School. I graduated from the 
Stony Point High School after two and one-half years, then com- 
pleted a year's course at the Packard Commercial School in New York 

I went to work for the Merlin Keiholtz Pap&r Company. Two years 
later I secured a position with the United States Gypsum Company, 
where I remained for fifteen years. Early in 1926, with my brother- 
in-law, Harry B. Finnegan, as my partner, I organized the building 
material firm of James A. Farley & Company, Inc. Two years later 
this partnership was increased to four members, when we were joined 
by Harry and Samuel Schiff, brothers, who operated the East Third 
Street Supply Company. In 1929, the Farley company, together with 
five other building material companies, formed the General Builders 
Supply Corporation, which is now one of the largest of its kind in the 

In 1909, I was elected Democratic town chairman of Stony Point. 

Early days 3 

Two years later I was elected town clerk in a Republican township. 
I was reelected three times. These eight years strengthened my po- 
litical wings. After my fourth term I climbed up the ladder a step, 
winning election as town supervisor. I was reelected once. In 1918 
I entered big time politics. I was elected Democratic county chair- 
man of Rockland County, a selection which launched me into state 
politics. In the hope of making my home county a factor in New York 
politics, I marched into the office of Alfred E. Smith, then President 
of the New York City Board of Aldermen, to urge him to become 
a candidate for governor. From the moment I entered his office, I 
sensed his dynamic personality. He was my first great American. My 
admiration for him never died, even though we had our differences. 

Lest I be misunderstood, I make no claim to having put Al in the 
Governor's mansion at Albany. I was only one of many booming the 
man who came up from "the sidewalks of New York." Once Smith 
was in Albany, I got my reward by appointment as one of the port 
wardens of New York City, a political sinecure in which I was never 
happy. In 1923 I was appointed a member of the New York State 
Athletic Commission and a year later became its chairman. I held this 
honorary and stormy post until I went to Washington in 1933. 

In April 1920 I married Miss Elizabeth A. Finnegan of Haverstraw, 
whom I had known all my life. We have three children: Betty, born 
August 28, 1922; Ann, born July i, 1925; and James, born May 25, 

The first summer of our marriage I had my first brief meeting with 
Franklin D. Roosevelt. An invitation was extended to me as county 
chairman, along with thousands of the party faithful, to meet the party 
standard bearers James M. Cox and his youthful running mate in 
New York City. Although I should like to be able to say that 
some psychic understanding passed between the tall, vigorous vice- 
presidential candidate and myself, I can only report that the meeting 
was nothing more than a handshake and a "How d'you do." The only 
memorable remark came from Bess at the end of the long, tiring day, 
when she said, "If I had ever realized that politicians spent their time 
going through such nonsensical performances, I would never have 
married you." 

4 Jim Farley's story 

In those days Roosevelt was not widely known even in his own state. 
He had served in the state senate, achieving some fame for successful 
opposition to the election of William "Blue-Eyed Billie" Sheehan to 
the United States Senate. In 1914 he bucked the party leadership by 
entering the Democratic primaries for the nomination for United 
States Senator against James VV. Gerard. He was soundly trounced. 
My vote went to Gerard because I was an organization man and 
strongly opposed to party rebels. 

The Cox-Roosevelt ticket was buried in the Harding-Coolidge 
landslide. In 1922 I got my first taste of behind-the-scenes politics in 
charge of Al Smith's headquarters at the Democratic state convention 
in Syracuse. In working for Smith's return to the governorship, I 
helped to elect myself to the New York State Assembly. I served but 
one term, losing rny race for reelection the next year. 

I came to know Roosevelt intimately and personally for the first 
time at the 1924 Democratic national convention in New York City. 
The less said about the io2-ballot deadlock the better. It had only one 
lesson to offer and that lesson it demonstrated for all time that party 
deadlock, arising from a clash of immovable factions, can only end in 
destruction of the party's chances. I was a delegate to that factional 
marathon as was FDR, 

My greatest thrill of the session came when, overcoming pain and 
discomfort, he rose to place the name of Alfred E. Smith in nomina- 
tion with, "He is the Happy Warrior of the political battlefield." 
Roosevelt was grinning broadly as I swung the New York state stand- 
ard into the van of a demonstration which started through the steam- 
ing hall to the tune of The Sidewalks of New York. Later I learned 
that the effort had cost him much. His legs were numb in steel braces 
and his fingers were cramped from his grip on the rostrum, but his 
face was that of a jubilant marcher in the Smith demonstration* He 
was fighting back from the infantile paralysis which struck him down 
in 1922. 

In 1928 he performed the same office for Smith at the Democratic 
convention in Houston. This time his body was more in tune with 
his spirit, and he weathered the task with strength to spare, I saw a 
good deal of him and, although we did not become intimate, our 

Early days 5 

acquaintance ripened. That summer, when the Democratic leadership 
was at odds on the nominee for the Governorship of New York, I 
was for Roosevelt, feeling that he would be the best vote getter be- 
cause of his name. Smith, the Democratic presidential candidate, had 
favored Herbert H. Lehman, New York banker, or Judge Townsend 
H. Scudder of the state supreme court; but he was finally convinced 
Roosevelt would help the party in New York State. He persuaded 
FDR to make the race. 

At this time Roosevelt was attempting to walk without the aid of 
braces or cane. In the living room of the cottage he then occupied he 
often demonstrated to visitors the diagonal path he traversed unaided. 
But it took tremendous physical concentration and discipline, His 
courageous conquest of a dread affliction should be an inspiration for 
all time. The cottage was located at the infantile paralysis resort which 
he had founded. Mrs. Roosevelt and his most intimate friends wanted 
him to continue his treatments. He, too, wanted to spend another year 
at Warm Springs. But he finally yielded to Smith's importuning. It was 
a splendid sacrifice. 

In the 1928 campaign I was in charge of the Roosevelt headquarters 
at the Hotel Biltmore in New York City as Secretary of the Demo- 
cratic State Committee under Chairman M. William Bray. Quite early 
on election night, it was apparent that Smith would run behind Roose- 
velt in New York and lose his own state. At the same time it was 
evident his cause was lost. As the numbing realization of national de- 
feat mounted, Al entered our headquarters with his family. His chin 
was up and his indomitable heart was high. At the sight of his jauntir 
ness in defeat, men and women workers burst into tears. Deeply 
touched, Smith barked out a few words of thanks to hide his own 
mounting emotions, clasped loyal hands, and was gone. Perhaps never 
in political history was there so much distress among the rank and 
file of the party as there was over his defeat* 

After Roosevelt's election as Governor, I concentrated on building 
up the Democratic party in New York. I was up to my neck in poli- 
tics. No one except my family and business associates will ever know 
how much of my own time Igave to politics from 1928 through 1943. 
Roosevelt won in 1928 by a margin of 25,564 votes over Albert 

6 Jim Farley's story 

Ottinger, his Republican opponent. By 1930, the Democratic ma- 
chine had been developed almost to perfection, as was demonstrated 
by Roosevelt's reelection by an unprecedented plurality of 725,001 on 
November 4. 

The afternoon after election night in 1930 Louis McHenry Howe, 
devoted follower and adviser of FDR, and I put our heads together 
and made political history. Al Smith had announced after his defeat 
in 1928 that he was through with public life. This statement Howe 
and I took at its face value. Our victory statement, issued in New York 
City over my name, contained the following explosive paragraph: 

"I fully expect that the call will come to Governor Roosevelt when 
the first presidential primary is held, which will be late next year. 
The Democrats in the Nation naturally want as their candidate for 
President the man who has shown himself capable of carrying the most 
important state in the country by a record-breaking majority. I do 
not see how Mr. Roosevelt can escape becoming the next presidential 
nominee of his party, even if no one should raise a finger to bring it 

After the statement was released, I got Roosevelt on the phone at 
Albany and told him its contents. While I had discussed his prospects 
with persons close to him, including Howe, from the 1928 election, 
this conversation marked the first word that passed between us on the 
subject. He was not in the least surprised by my statement, saying, 
"Whatever you said, Jim, is all right with me." 

With those words he set in motion a presidential boom which was 
to change the history of the nation and the history of the world. Just 
when he made up his mind to run, I don't know. He would not 
have been human had he not considered it after his election in 1928, 
because the Governorship of the Empire State has frequently brought 
presidential nomination. Once the die was cast, Roosevelt lightly turned 
over the preconvention campaign to Louie and myself. 

Never did two more unlike men work so well as a team. Louie, who 
was approaching sixty, was five feet five inches tall and weighed just 
over a hundred pounds. His face was weazened and his clothes fitted 
badly, Louie made no effort to be friendly and seldom bothered to 
be polite. Yet his eyes burned openly with devotion, and his heart 

Early days 7 

drove his feeble body to give his last ounce of strength and ability for 
his chief. 

Beyond any question of doubt, Louie was the first "Roosevelt-for- 
President" man, preceding FDR himself by years. As far back as 1910, 
when he was a legislative correspondent at Albany, Howe was at- 
tracted to the Dutchess County Senator and hitched his wagon to the 
latter's star. 

By the end of 1928, 1 was past my fortieth birthday. I was and still 
am genuinely fond of people. I have always been careful of my ap- 
pearance, and I have tried at all times to be courteous. I was attracted 
to Roosevelt by his charm, energy, and vote-getting potentialities. 
Louie and I had two things in common loyalty and inexperience in 
national politics. In the task we had set for ourselves we never had 
the slightest dispute over authority, and we never had a quarrel. 

Sixteen days after the Howe-Farley statement had tossed Roose- 
velt's hat into the 1932 Democratic presidential ring, I received a 
letter from FDR, which I treasure because it constitutes the only 
formal thanks I got from him for managing two gubernatorial and 
two presidential campaigns. The letter is interesting for striking a 
chord of presidential prophecy in mentioning the former historical 
association of Governor Grover Cleveland and Daniel Scott Lamont, 
his political adviser. Cleveland later became President; and Lamont, a 
member of his Cabinet. I am sure Roosevelt had this in mind when he 
wrote on stationery of the Executive Chamber at Albany from Warm 
Springs. The letter follows: 

November 21, 1930. 

This is the first chance I have had to sit down for a few minutes and 
write you connectedly about the campaign. You have done a wonderful 
piece of work and I don't need to tell you how very appreciative and 
grateful I am. 

As I went through the State I got expressions everywhere showing that 
no man since the days of David B. Hill has such hearty backing and en- 
thusiastic cooperation from the organizations as you have. 

It is not merely a fine record, but a great opportunity for us to consoli- 
date the gains. The enclosed letters are fine, but they do not tell half the 
story, and everywhere our people are looking for just what we propose 

8 Jim Farley's story 

to give them information, encouragement and practical help throughout 
the year and not just the two or three weeks before election. 

When I think of the difficulties of former State Chairmen with former 
Governors and vice versa (!), I have an idea that you and I make a com- 
bination which has not existed since Cleveland and Lament and that is so 
long ago that neither you nor I know anything about it except from history 

Perhaps by the beginning of December, you will have enough stuff to 
warrant your running down here. In any event, it would do you a lot of 
good to get a few days' holiday and I know that you would like Warm 
Springs. And it would be grand to see you. Bring your Missus too! 

As ever yours, 

The capturing of a presidential nomination is one of the most formi- 
dable enterprises the political animal can tackle. The race is not always 
to the swift, the wise, the able, or the prominent, or there would be 
no dark horses. 

In politics, you can speak too often or not often enough; you can 
speak too loud or too soft; you can start too soon or too late; you can 
be too polite or not polite enough; and again you can be too friendly 
or not friendly enough. Any of these extremes at any given time may 
be fatal. Worst of all, one is frequently called upon to make split- 
second decisions. And, unfortunately, what may look good now may 
turn out disastrously six months from now. Public good will at any 
given moment can be as elusive as quicksilver. It is easy to offend the 
public by being too cocky or too upstage, or by being neither. Public 
good will can be as difficult to capture and hang onto as a greased pig. 
Many a promising political career has been blasted because an aspirant 
for office has, more often than not unwittingly, wounded the feel- 
ings of a party patriarch a being who normally has a hide as im- 
pervious to criticism as that of a rhinoceros but who displays the 
tender susceptibilities of a lovelorn maiden when political amenities 
are to be observed. 

Is it any wonder, then, that the politician who has once juggled a 
"hot potato" will never reach for a hot potato again (or a cold one 
either, for that matter)? 

In the case pf, Roosevelt in the fall of 1930, there were two roads 

Early days 9 

to travel. He could conduct a passive campaign, which would avoid 
antagonizing the various favorite son candidates by any invasion of 
their bailiwicks; or he could launch an aggressive campaign and be- 
gin rounding up delegates. We chose the latter course, ignoring the 
formidable hazard that he who announced himself first is usually way- 
laid by a temporary union of all opposition. Roosevelt approved the 
decision. While Louie and I and a few co-conspirators were given a 
free hand, we left final decision on major problems to Roosevelt 
whenever we could. Almost invariably, he followed our recommenda- 
tion. Generally we were in agreement by the time any problem reached 
him, having threshed out our differences. 

Once committed to an aggressive campaign, we had to attack every 
possible means of securing delegates. This required a stupendous 
amount of work and a meticulous capacity for detail. This mastery of 
detail, I am convinced, brought success at Chicago in 1932. The nom- 
ination of our candidate came from compiling all useful and necessary 
information, building up organizations in every state and filling the 
workers with enthusiasm. At the same time, we worked in every way 
to impress the opposition with Roosevelt's vote appeal and to increase 
his public stature. 

Never in the history of politics, up to that time, was there any- 
thing like our letter writing and long distance telephone campaign. 
From my days as town clerk I have known the value of the personal 
touch. I made it my business to write every county chairman, asking 
for a report from his district, an honest report. Often we gained 
recruits. Roosevelt entered into the letter writing campaign, build- 
ing up much good will. Men and women in key positions throughout 
the country received friendly, personal calls from him. Many of these 
were among our last-ditch supporters in the crucial balloting. Auto- 
graphed photographs were employed to great effect. Births, marriages, 
weddings, anniversaries, and deaths brought appropriate letters. 

By the spring of 1931 we had our organization completed. While 
our headquarters at 3 3 1 Madison Avenue, New York City, were small, 
they were busy and our prospects were far brighter than we had hoped. 
The beginnings of our campaign fund came with contributions of 
$5,000 each by Frank C. Walker, New York attorney, Henry Mor- 

io Jim Farley's story 

genthau, Sr., former ambassador to Turkey, and William H. Woodin, 
industrialist. William A. Julian of Ohio contributed f 1,000. Others 
who gave liberally before the Chicago convention included Edward 
J, Flynn, Democratic leader of Bronx borough in New York City; 
Jesse I. Straus, New York merchant; Herbert H. Lehman, banker and 
Lieutenant Governor of New York; Joseph P. Kennedy, capitalist; 
Robert W. Bingham of Louisville, who later was named ambassador 
to Great Britain; Lawrence A. Steinhardt of New York City; and 
Basil O'Connor, his law partner. 



MAN'S MEMORY concerning things he has witnessed is often 
tricky, and his testimony as to important political events in 
which he has played a part is frequently misleading. Good 
and true men are prone to claim that they brought about great events, 
which, in reality, required the combined efforts of several if not a 
great number of persons. This is most true of the first Roosevelt nom- 
ination for the Presidency. Various men have staked out an assort- 
ment of claims most of them with entire honesty in their own minds 
that they brought about the nomination by directing one effort or 
another. Actually, the majority of the claimants did little or nothing to 
bring about the convention selection of Roosevelt. Many were asked 
for advice, after the decision at hand had actually been made, either 
as a matter of courtesy or as a calculated bit of flattery. Some did 
strike out for certain objectives and were convinced they had effected 
them, when the accomplishing effort had already been launched on 
a higher level long before. 

So it was with my barnstorming trip in the summer of 1931, which 
many have credited with selling Roosevelt to the Democratic party. 
Several persons, not excluding Roosevelt himself, have claimed credit 
for initiating the coast to coast jaunt that took me to eighteen states 
in nineteen days. (In the fall of 1946 in as many days, I toured by air as 
many countries of the world without batting an eye, except over some 
rough weather. My travel horizon has broadened considerably in 
fourteen years.) 

By 1931, I had for some years been active in the Benevolent and 
Protective Order of Elks. I held occasional office and frequently at- 
tended the annual Grand Lodge conventions. The annual meeting in 
193 1 was set for early in July at Seattle, Washington. I made my plans 
to attend months ahead, partly to enjoy convention camaraderie and 
partly for the delight in the trip. Keen-minded Louie Howe grasped 

iz Jim Farley's story 

my suggestion that I mix fellowship with politics. Roosevelt imme- 
diately recognized the value of my suggestion. One Sunday morning 
I drove up the Hudson to the family home at Hyde Park, with a fist- 
ful of railroad timetables, a map of the United States, and the latest 
list of Democratic state chairmen and national committcemen. After 
luncheon, we retired to Roosevelt's tiny study and evolved a schedule, 
which was one of the liveliest and most demanding ever undertaken. 

I started out on Monday, June 29, 1931, shortly after noon, on a 
succession of sleeper jumps. In the next nineteen days I was up to niy 
ears in meetings, conferences, luncheons, dinners, and "gab f ests" with 
Democratic leaders. Along the route, I talked to all sorts of people to 
learn everything I could about the public political temper, I was a 
sort of combination political drummer and listening post, 

At the end of the trip I reported every incident of the trip in de- 
tail to the Governor and Louie. The recital found us agreeing that 
we had by an aggressive campaign adopted the correct strategy for 
putting Roosevelt out in front. 

My first meeting with the man who was to get the vice-presidential 
nomination came in the fall of 1931, 1 was standing in the Democratic 
cloakroom of the House of Representatives talking with Congressman 
Joseph Gavagan of New York, when John Nance Garner came out 
of the House Chamber and headed for the stairway leading to the 
floor below. Gavagan intercepted him with, "Just a minute, Mr* 
Speaker. I want you to meet Jim Farley," Garner acknowledged his 
introduction by saying, "How do you do, Mr, Farley. I hope things 
are going well with you." 

Then he stepped back and subjected me to a head-to-toe appraisal 
with his piercing blue eyes. I must confess I was a bit flustered. I 
thought to myself that here was a man I could never become friendly 
with, so stern and aloof he seemed. Never in my life was I more mis- 
taken by a first impression. Our first meeting lasted hardly ten sec- 
onds. In the future I was to know him most intimately; and as time 
went on I found more and more to admire in him, not only for his 
conduct in public office but also for his code as a man. Recently he 
wrote me, "I speak the truth, Jim, when I tell you that if every official 

Political drummer 13 

act of 46 years in public life were put on the screen, I would not be 
ashamed of a single one/' Few men can honestly say as much. 

Garner was to enter the presidential lists a little later with the 
support of his own state of Texas and the backing of William Ran- 
dolph Hearst, the publisher. Afterwards I learned that he never asked 
for support in the preconvention period, even from his closest Con- 
gressional cronies, considering such solicitation improper for one of his 
position. The lists were to swell impressively before the convention 
until they held the names of Al Smith, the 1928 standard-bearer; 
Governor Albert C. Ritchie, who had become a national figure by 
virtue of his opposition to the Eighteenth Amendment in Maryland; 
Governor George White, favorite-son candidate of Ohio; former Sen- 
ator James A, Reed of Missouri, one of the senatorial immortals; Sen- 
ator James Hamilton Lewis, favorite son of Illinois; Governor William 
H. Murray of Oklahoma, one of the most picturesque political figures 
of the day; Newton D. Baker, whose supporters were working quietly 
and effectively; and Owen D. Young, who was regarded as a most 
likely dark horse. 

On January 23, 1932, Governor Roosevelt formally threw his hat in 
the ring in a letter to Fred W. McLean, Secretary of the Democratic 
State Committee of North Dakota. State law required that he announce 
his candidacy in his own hand in order to place a slate of delegates in 
the preferential primary. Roosevelt grasped the opportunity to declare 
he would wage his candidacy as a progressive. That same day the 
Democratic Territorial Convention of Alaska instructed its six conven- 
tion delegates to vote for Roosevelt. These were the first delegates 
pledged to his candidacy. 

When I came to Chicago Sunday, June 19, 1932, eight days before 
the convention opened, I had just passed my forty-fourth birthday and 
had been in politics over twenty-three years. When I left two weeks 
later, I had been skyrocketed into national prominence. In those two 
weeks I learned all about the heartaches and shocks that a campaign 
manager is heir to. I was ground in political mills, put on the rack by 
inquiring newspapermen, dragged through knotholes of worry, and 
wrung in wringers of helplessness. At times I faced defeat with despair 

14 Jim Farley's story 

clutching nauseously at my stomach. I knew the physical weariness 
of an athlete called upon to give a last gasp of effort. I kept my head 
and gave all that was in me; then I knew the delicious delight of vic- 
tory. At such moments, and even in defeat, if the battle has been well 
fought, politics is a great game. 

I have been credited by many with putting Franklin D. Roosevelt 
in the White House. If this is so, it was largely because I had a great 
deal of help from men of long political experience. Whenever I was 
called upon to make a decision, I tried to have the related facts laid 
before me and then take whatever action was indicated by the weight 
of reason. At every turn I sought advice. Whenever I made a mistake 
and I made plenty I wasted ao time in vain regrets, but set to work 
repairing the damage as best I could. No one was more aware than I 
was that I didn't know it all. And I was busy learning all I could every 
minute. Even to this day I often wonder how we made it. 

The Republican convention had just ended in the same city a few 
days before in the renomination of Herbert Hoover. The Republicans 
had met in apprehension that defeat was just around the corner. In 
contrast, the Democrats met with the joyous enthusiasm of crusaders. 

Although the Roosevelt forces were first on the scene, the others 
were not long coming, Al Smith arrived in a fighting mood, openly 
avowing his intention to stop Roosevelt. He was followed by the 
forces of Tammany, bent on holding their lines for his candidacy. 
Governor Ritchie of Maryland, Governor Harry F, Byrd of Virginia, 
Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, and Governor "Alfalfa Bill" Mur- 
ray of Oklahoma trooped in at the head of their followers. 

The first opposition blast came from Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey 
City, floor manager of the Smith forces, who issued a statement on 
June 24, saying that Roosevelt would not carry a single northern state 
east of the Mississippi and had no chance of winning in November. 
This obvious exaggeration was more damaging to the Smith forces 
than to us, but we countered it in such fashion as to bolster our cause. 
After telephone consultation with Roosevelt (we had a private line 
from strategy headquarters in Chicago to Albany) I issued the follow- 
ing reply: 

"Governor Roosevelt's friends have not come to Chicago to criti- 

Political drummer 15 

cize, cry down, or defame any Democrat from any part of the coun- 
try. This, I believe, is sufficient answer to Mr. Hague's statement." 

The first round was ours. 

On the eve of our convention our organization was running as 
smoothly as could be desired. I was glad-handing every delegate and 
leader I could reach. With all modesty, I knew I was at my best in 
meeting people and happily accepted this task. Miss Mary Dewson 
of New York did an excellent job at similar work with women dele- 
gates and leaders. Our strategy board had been tireless in their efforts 
to prepare for every possible development. On the night before the 
convention opened we organized our field forces for the convention 
floor itself. It was my idea, and it proved a good one, to introduce 
Arthur Mullen, floor leader, and his assistants and a few trusted lieu- 
tenants like Bill Howes of South Dakota and Joe O'Mahoney of 
Wyoming. I had each of them stand up and called upon all to take a 
good look at them, so they would know them during the convention. 
Then I told those present to accept whatever orders these men would 
give on the floor. 

The next day Democratic national chairman Raskob whanged a 
huge gavel in the vast Chicago Stadium and droned the familiar con- 
vention call, 'The convention will please come to order." More thump- 
ing at the rostrum, and he followed with, "Delegates will please take 
their seats." There was music and singing and oratory galore. Senator 
Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky won the laurels in the last field with 
a magnificent keynote address. 

At headquarters we were concentrating on the series of test votes 
that were to come the next day. These were vitally important because 
they would demonstrate whether the opposition could win control. 
We knew we had to win every test or the stampede of our delegates 
to the opposition would make the Oklahoma homestead rush look like 
a turtle race by comparison. 

In preparation for the tests I released a Roosevelt statement calling 
off the two-thirds rule fight, hoping his words would shelve the issue. 
I did not reckon on the die-hards. Huey P. Long, who was blustering 
and strutting about in great style, insisted on a vote. He had to be 
handled with gloves because he had been brought over to our camp 

1 6 Jim Farley's story 

with considerable difficulty by Senator Burton K. Wheeler, an able 
persuader. Long projected himself in the center of the limelight and, 
when publicity came his way, reached out and grasped it. Rules com- 
mittee chairman Bruce Kremer, another champion of abrogation, 
pushed through a recommendation that, if the first six ballots under 
the two-thirds rule failed to produce a nominee, a mere majority would 
be sufficient on the seventh. That brought the opposition battering 
at our door with cries of bad faith, trickery, and deceit. A hurried per- 
sonal plea to Kremer induced him to accept Roosevelt's statement and 
forget the issue. With his grudging acquiescence to Roosevelt's wish, 
that problem was buried and forgotten for four years. 

Our first test was on the seating of the rival Louisiana delegations. 
Long had a delegation which he voted as a unit. Another delegation 
was entered by former Governor Jared Saunders. In order to poke fun 
at the contesting delegation, Long threw a third delegation into the 
field, which exaggeratedly pretended to oppose both its rivals. The 
clowning of this third delegation of Long henchmen proved to be a 
boomerang to Long and did him more harm than good. I was not a 
little worried that he might easily lose this important decision for us 
and did not breathe easily until the vote was announced at 638 and 
three-fourths to 514 and one-fourth in our favor* I sat beside Judge 
Joseph M, Proskauer in the New York delegation during the balloting. 
The face of this long and faithful friend of Al Smith fell, when the 
result was announced. An astute political observer, he knew the Happy 
Warrior was in for another defeat, 

We won the Minnesota contest handily. The Roosevelt delegates 
were seated by a vote of 658 and one-fourth to 492 and three-fourths* 

The chairmanship feud, which had been going on for months, was 
of Hatfield-McCoy proportions. Jouett Shouse, able Chairman of the 
Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, was the 
opposition candidate. He was the choice of Chairman Raskob, the in- 
dustrialist, who was an excellent organizer, a superb financier, but 
weak on practical politics, Shouse was a skilled politician and had, 
months before, quietly set about gathering votes for the post of con- 
vention keynoter* 

The Roosevelt forces knew nothing of this until April 4, when the 

Political drummer 17 

Arrangements Committee met in Chicago to go over convention pre- 
liminaries. Our choice was Senator Alben W. Barkley. When the 
Committee, which had power to make the keynoter selection, met, 
Shouse announced his candidacy and called for a vote. We stalled, not 
sure of our strength and unaware of his. Anxious to avoid any clash, 
Governor Byrd of Virginia suggested a compromise under which 
Barkley would be recognized as keynoter and Shouse would become 
permanent chairman, a post the Arrangements Committee had no 
power to name. Shouse assented readily on condition Roosevelt would 
agree. When the resolution was read to Roosevelt in Albany, he was 
quick to point out the committee's lack of jurisdiction, but said he 
had no objection to the committee's recognition of Shouse by "com- 
mending" him for the permanent chairmanship. This Roosevelt word- 
ing was adopted and the clash was avoided at that time. 

Following the meeting, Shouse made speeches urging Democrats 
to send uninstructed delegations to Chicago. This tensed muscles in 
our camp as we felt he had thrown his lot with the enemy. It was 
decided to contest his bid for the permanent chairmanship because we 
knew that the man who makes the parliamentary rulings can do much 
to influence delegate voting on important issues and on the balloting. 

On June 5, 1 issued a statement which threw down the gage of battle. 
This read, "Mr. James A. Farley, at the head of the Roosevelt move- 
ment, lunched with the Governor today. He stated, "The Governor's 
friends have come to the conclusion that they will urge the selection 
of Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana as Permanent Chairman of 
the Convention.' " 

In no time the brickbats were flying. Roosevelt was accused of hav- 
ing run out on a sacred pledge to Shouse, For three weeks they ham- 
mered at this theme in an effective anvil chorus. We pointed to the 
wording of the resolution; we charged Shouse had put himself beyond 
the pale by taking sides when he should have remained aloof as a paid 
member of the national organization; and we shouted that Walsh was 
a man of unquestioned fairness whose service in the chair would be 
above imputation of partisanship* 

Winds of contention had blown up the issue far beyond its actual 
importance. Nonetheless, we were most uneasy. Shouse was well-liked 

1 8 Jim Farley's story 

and had secured many pledges. In our own camp were many men who 
were determined to keep their word and vote for him. The case for 
Shouse was effectively presented by John W. Davis, the party's 1924 
nominee, and by Mrs. Bernice S. Pyke of Ohio. Senator Clarence C 
Dill of Washington and Senator James F. Byrnes of South Carolina 
did the honors for us. 

I have the yellow legal paper on which I followed the balloting in 
my files and its many markings and calculations show my deep con- 
cern over the outcome. When the vote was reported at 626. for Walsh 
and 528 for Shouse, I began to breathe easy. 

The next issue, prohibition, gave us a few uneasy moments, but the 
vote was a foregone conclusion. The Republicans had adopted a wishy- 
washy plank on this question. We had a dripping wet plank and a 
moist plank. Our uneasiness came when two rival candidates, Al Smith 
and Ritchie, took to the platform to urge outright repeal. There was 
a danger that either might stampede the delegates by force of personal 
magnetism. Cordell Hull, against our advice, spoke for the milder 
proposal. The wets won overwhelmingly by 934 and three-fourths to 
2 1 3 and three-fourths. 



A % HOUGH i did not know it, my troubles had only begun. I 
was to have many bad moments before the final gavel. Our 
heaviest efforts were directed on Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio be- 
cause there was considerable sentiment for Roosevelt within the dele- 

The name of Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War in Wilson's 
cabinet, kept haunting us in the next few days like Banquo's ghost 
at the banquet table. He was considered the most likely dark horse 
in the event of a deadlock. There were reports that Roy Howard, one 
of America's greatest newspaper executives, was reportedly using 
Smith as a stalking horse for his true candidate, Baker. 

We were not asleep. Kremer and Roper were in constant touch 
with McAdoo, hoping to win California's 44 votes, which were enough 
to crush the opposition. I was cautiously tendering support for the 
vice-presidential candidacy in return for delegations. I offered to sup- 
port Ritchie for the second place if he would withdraw his name for 
the presidency, which he refused to do through Mayor Howard W. 
Jackson of Baltimore, We offered the same post to Governor Byrd 
of Virginia through his brother Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Not until 
after the convention was over did I learn that Ritchie had not expected 
Smith to take his own candidacy seriously. He had previously been 
given to understand that Smith's only interest was in stopping Roose- 
velt and confidently expected to get Smith's strength and the nom- 
ination in the balloting. He felt that he had been doublecrossed. 

OtherjS on our strategy board and many of our well-wishers were 
working to break the impending log jam of votes. That is why so many 
persons have claimed they effected the understanding which turned 
the tide in our favor. As a matter of fact, the first move came jointly 
from Senators Key Pittman of Nevada and Harry B. Hawes of Mis- 
souri. They called Roosevelt at Albany to ask if he had any objection 

20 Jim Farley's story 

to Garner as a running mate, FDR pronounced a Roosevelt-Garner 

ticket as "fine." Hawes wired me: 


First I found Silliman Evans of Texas, whom I had come to know 
in the preconvention fight, and he promised to bring Sam Rayburn 
to my rooms at the Congress Hotel. At this meeting Rayburn made 
no promise, but made it clear he did not want a repetition of Madison 
Square Garden Convention. He did not even indicate interest in the 
vice-presidential nomination for Garner. We promised to keep our 
conference a secret. 

That was Monday, June 27, the day before the convention opened. 
Thursday I met Rayburn and Evans again. I told them we would posi- 
tively give Garner the second place nomination* Rayburn asked me 
what I wanted him to do. I told him to have Texas cast its vote for 
Garner on the first ballot and switch to Roosevelt immediately after 
the roll call. Sam said he had to vote for Garner for two or three 
ballots at least and asked how long I could keep our forces intact Quite 
frankly, I told him certainly for three ballots, very likely for four, 
and possibly for five. Sam's answer was, "We just must let the con- 
vention go for a while even if we are interested in the Vice Presi- 
dency, and I'm not saying that we are." During these negotiations, 
Arthur Mullen was working in the same direction with Senator Tom 
Connally of Texas. 

Thursday afternoon, June 30, nine candidates for President had 
their names placed in nomination, 

Nine nominating speeches is a lot of oratory, even if it is all good 
and it wasn't. Dozens of seconding speeches dragged the show 
through the afternoon and into the night* I repaired to our gallery 
headquarters where I rested on a cot. 

In a scene reminiscent of the engraving of Osawatomie John Brown 
receiving visitors while lying in jail awaiting trial for his raid on 
Harper's Ferry, I summoned leaders to my bedside. I was too weary 
physically to get up, but I was alert mentally* The consensus was for 

Battling for ballots 21 

a ballot before adjournment, I pulled myself to the phone and told 
Roosevelt what our verdict was. "Go to it, Jim," were his orders. 

All of the glamor and most of the enthusiasm had gone out of the 
hall by that hour. Galleries which had been whooping it up for Al 
and booing Roosevelt, were yawningly empty. Delegates were nap- 
ping in their seats. Clothes were wilted, collars were askew, ties hung 
open, and hats sagged at the brims. Aisles were littered with the debris 
of demonstrations. The scene was one of general dejection. Even 
the bunting drooped limply. 

Finally at 4:28 A.M. dauntless Tom Walsh went to work with his 
gavel, more for the purpose of waking the delegates up than to secure 

"The clerk will call the roll," he announced. 

"Alabama," the clerk called. 

"Alabama," the delegation chairman echoed in a southern drawl, 
"twenty-four votes for Franklin D. Roosevelt." 

I thrilled to the response even though I knew it was coming because 
the delegation was pledged to us. I marked down 24 under Roosevelt's 
name on my personal tally sheet. At last the balloting was under way. 
Weariness and exhaustion were forgotten. I was grinning broadly, 
confident to the last cell of my being that we would win on the first 
ballot. The roll call took almost two hours, 

Our delegates held their lines like soldiers. The vote was announced 
as 666 and one-fourth for Roosevelt, which was 450 votes ahead of 
his nearest rival, but a good way short of the 770 needed to nominate. 
I leaned back and looked over the hall to see where the break for the 
band wagon would begin. I was so sure that the opposition lines would 
break that the disappointment was almost more than I could bear. 
Nothing happened. Not a single delegate shifted. Two years of tire- 
less work seemed headed for political oblivion. I closed my mind to 
such gloomy thoughts and charged into action. 

On the floor I pleaded with Mayor A. J. Cermak to switch Illinois, 
knowing full well Indiana would follow his lead. Cermak was sym- 
pathetic, but regretful his delegation could not switch without a cau- 
cus. I knew better, but could do nothing. He had everything in his 
hands at that moment national prominence, possibly the Senate which 

22 Jim Farley's story 

he had his eyes on, and life itself but he postponed the decision and 
political opportunity passed him by. Had he jumped to our band 
wagon then, he would not have been in Miami a few months later seek- 
ing political favors only to stop an assassin's wild bullet aimed at 

The second ballot got under way. Not being entirely off guard I 
had held out a few votes for a second ballot, aware that if we lost on 
a second roll call, our delegates might melt away like a late snow be- 
fore a warm spring sun. The final vote on the second ballot was 677 
and three-fourths votes for Roosevelt, a gain of 1 1 and one-half votes, 
which was not much but a gain. Missouri gave most of the votes 
we picked up because Tom Pendergast, boss of Kansas City, was 

After the second ballot, we were ready to recess. Arthur Mullen, 
our floor leader, moved for an adjournment. The opposition, sensing 
a possible deflection from our ranks, objected and a third roll call 
started. I knew I was face to face with disaster. As it got under way, 
I turned to Bob Jackson, Secretary of the Democratic National Com- 
mittee, and, attempting a smile, said, "Bob, watch this one closely. It 
will show whether I can ever go back to New York or not" 

We did little more than hold our own on that ballot, and we came 
close to setting off a landslide toward the opposition. We managed to 
inch ahead to 682,79 votes. There was no sign of a break. It was then 
9:15 A.M. Friday morning. Everyone welcomed a motion to adjourn. 

Our situation was desperate. There were indications that we could 
not hold our delegates through the fourth ballot. Up and down hotel 
corridors, the convention wise men were pronouncing Roosevelt out 
of the picture. 

The crisis was at hand. 

Ed Flynn, Frank Walker, Joe Guffey, Vincent Dailey, and a few 
other trusted men went to Louie Howe's suite in the Congress Hotel 
He was lying on the floor in his shirt sleeves between two blowing 
electric fans. He had sat through the night beside the radio. Never 
physically strong, he was racked by strangling asthma during the 
Chicago stay. He had been unable to visit the convention hall, He 
looked as though he couldn't last through the day. But his mind was 

Battling for ballots 23 

plotting the coralling of votes for "Franklin," as he always called 
Roosevelt. I flung myself on the floor beside him, and, while the others 
stood back, whispered to him, "Texas is our only chance." Louie 

Pat Harrison called Rayburn at my request. The conference lasted 
only a few minutes. Like many another event in history, it was casual 
and without any heroic statements. I said we needed the Lone Star 
State to win; that the alternative was a victory-sapping deadlock, and 
that we could swing the vice-presidential nomination to Garner. 
Neither Sam nor Silliman Evans, who accompanied him, made any 
promise. Sam merely said, "We'll see what can be done." That was 
good enough for me, and I raced back to Howe's room. 

When I poured my story into the ear of the man who had worked 
for years for such a moment, he blinked and said, "That's fine." Roose- 
velt was far more effusive when I broke the news to him over our pri- 
vate line. 

I sat down to work. There was much to do. We had to hold our 
delegates. The opposition was predicting we were about to fold our 
delegates and steal away. Paul McNutt said the Roosevelt vote was 
disappointing, otherwise Indiana would have led the band wagon. 
Others flatly said, "We have Roosevelt stopped." 

Rayburn was rounding the Texans up for a caucus. Jack Garner 
had called from Washington with the curt instruction, "I think it is 
time to break that thing up," referring to the impending deadlock. The 
California delegation met to caucus in an adjoining hotel room. Ray- 
burn informed McAdoo that he was about to telephone Garner and 
advised McAdoo to release the California delegation. The conversa- 
tion between Garner and Rayburn is a model of brevity. 

"Do you authorize me to release the Texas delegation from voting 
for you for the presidential nomination?" Rayburn asked. 


"Do you release the Texas delegation from voting for you for the 
presidential nomination?" 


The Garner die-hards, led by Amon G. Carter, Fort Worth pub- 
lisher, bucked like bronchos, but at length accepted Rayburn's mas- 

24 Jim Farley's story 

tery. The California caucus was less stormy. When news of the shifts 
were brought to me, I knew all was over and that the nomination lay 
ahead. I wasted no time in gloating, but went around to urge various 
delegations to join the band wagon procession. I was particularly in- 
terested in securing the New York delegation in the interests of party 
harmony, aware that Smith had an idolizing personal following. I saw 
John F. Curry, Tammany leader, and John H. McCooey, Brooklyn 
leader. Curry was adamant, so I abandoned the effort, aware that poli- 
ticians often believe what they want to believe. 

Neither the California nor the Texas delegation could have been 
released without Garner's direct authorization. The California dele- 
gation was under constant pressure from various quarters as its forty- 
four votes were a great prize. Publisher William Randolph Hearst had 
been largely responsible for securing the delegation for Garner. Vari- 
ous of his associates, who were attending the convention, were doubt- 
ful of the wisdom of opposition to Roosevelt. Hearst had long been 
a political foe of Smith, and he loathed Baker, who had been an ardent 
advocate of American entry into the League of Nations. Several Hearst 
men were worried over the Baker threat, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was 
closely associated with Hearst, called the publisher to warn him of 
the blossoming Baker movement and to urge him to use his influence 
to get the California delegation to switch to Roosevelt* 

Damon Runyon, the noted Hearst writer, brought the publisher's 
secretary, Joseph Willicombe, to see me. They suggested a phone 
call to Hearst at his San Simeon/ California, ranch. The publisher 
listened courteously as I emphasized the menace of the Baker move- 
ment, which he deplored, but he did not commit himself, A number 
of others made similar calls- I am sure Hearst threw his weight to 
Roosevelt because he decided Baker must be stopped. 

On my way to the convention hall in a taxi, I was sandwiched in 
between two Tammany Braves, who sought to persuade me to desert 
Roosevelt and switch to Smith. 

I have never held a card in the Disloyal Brotherhood of Political 
Switchmen. I have known men to weave in and out of political factions 
as a switch engine shuttles through a freight yard. Somehow they never 
pick up anything in their search for political preferment* Like chronic 

Battling for ballots 25 

liars and men who habitually break their word, they seldom reach their 

The fourth ballot got under way in an attitude of hushed ex- 
pectancy. The break came sooner than' most of them expected. Wil- 
liam Gibbs McAdoo, who held a majority in 1924, but suffered dis- 
appointment, was on his feet. Few heard him. There were shouts of 

"I'll make it loud enough," he cried into the battery of microphones. 
"California came here to nominate a President of the United States. 
She did not come to deadlock the Convention or to engage in another 
devastating contest like that of 1924." 

A hush spread from the platform and engulfed the hall. A few more 
sentences and McAdoo shouted, "California casts 44 votes for Frank- 
lin D. Roosevelt." 

The vote on the 'fourth ballot was 945 for Roosevelt, 190 and 
one-fourth for Smith and 13 scattered. The convention hall was in a 
turmoil of excitement. Everyone knew we had just nominated the 
next President of the United States. 

The next order of business was the nomination of a candidate for 
Vice President. A number of men in our ranks were potential candi- 
dates, up to the Conclusion of the California-Texas deal, which carried 
its pledge to Garner. Senator Hull and Senator Dill were among the 
first prominent men to join the Roosevelt movement. I know Dill was 
disappointed that his invaluable early organizational work went un- 
recognized by the vice-presidential nomination. I have suspected Hull, 
^our preconvention choice for second place, was also a bit discontented, 
although I am sure he was more than satisfied later by his selection as 
Secretary of State. Senator Wheeler and Governor George Henry 
Dern of Utah were among the steadfast who were in the running for 
the fourth ballot. Strangely enough, the Vice Presidency was not men- 
tioned to Garner until just before the actual balloting for it got under 
way. Rayburn called him to inform him that he was about to be nom- 
inated and suggest he speak to the delegates briefly by wire after 
Roosevelt delivered his acceptance speech in person. Garner had no 
desire for the office. His sole purpose in breaking the deadlock was 
to advance the welfare of the Democratic party. 

26 Jim Farley's story 

The next day I was on hand at Municipal Airport to greet our candi- 
date on his arrival by plane, which had been planned at Hyde Park. I 
managed to make my way through the press to his side. He clasped niy 
hand and exclaimed, "Good work, Jim." 

On the ride to the convention hall, Louis Howe pushed a speech 
into Roosevelt's hand. The faithful old gnome had stayed up most of 
a second night to prepare what he thought was a proper acceptance 
speech. Roosevelt had with him a speech, prepared largely by Ray- 
mond Moley, brilliant professor of public law at Columbia Uni- 
versity, who was to become the outstanding member of the "Brain 
Trust," the early group of White House advisers under the New Deal 
In the automobile, FDR looked over Louie's effort and discarded all 
but the first page, which he substituted for the first page of the Moley 
speech. Louie was elated as his words came over the air and crushed 
when those of Moley were used for the rest of the speech. 

It was a great speech and magnificently delivered. Few who wit- 
nessed the scene will ever forget it. The Roosevelt charm was on full 
blast and captured the convention hall. Over the air his vibrant tones 
fired the enthusiasm of the nation with: 

"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American peo- 
ple. Let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new 
order of competence and courage. This is more than a political cam- 
paign; it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, 
but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people/' 

The New Deal was born. 

The day was not without a note of tragedy, almost Shakespearean, 
That morning, as I was leaving the hotel for a brisk walk, I saw a 
familiar figure ahead of me. It was Al Smith. The idol of millions 
would not stay in Chicago to congratulate his successful rival He had 
observed the amenities by sending a congratulatory wire. Now he was 
making his way to the railroad station alone, All eyes were turned to 
the new standard-bearer. Before I could catch up to Al, he had turned 
the corner, symbolically enough, and was gone. Perhaps there is no 
more grievous burden of disappointment to bear than a lost chance at 
the Presidency. I will say this for Al, he walked with his shoulders 
back and his head erect, although he walked alone. 

Battling for ballots 27 

The Democrats had one more choice to make before leaving Chi- 
cago. The Democratic National Committee gathered to select a new 
chairman. The party's new candidate made a dramatic entrance to 
nominate, in a few gracious words, his blushing campaign manager. 
This was thanks for James Aloysius Farley, who had reached the 
estate of political maturity. 



A HER THE epic struggle of the convention, the campaign itself was 
a breeze. In no time our machine was functioning smoothly. 
The Republicans were making blunders right and left. Our 
confidence was high. Everyone in the organization from Roosevelt to 
the youngest Young Democrat considered the election a foregone 
conclusion. Yet, we never were drugged into inactivity by overcon- 

On a hot August afternoon in 1932, I went to Hyde Park to ask 
Roosevelt whether he would stay in his family home or take to the 
road, I gave him a summary of the opinions of party leaders. He 
rubbed his chin thoughtfully and asked, "Jim, what do you think 

"I think you ought to go," I laughed, "and I know you are going 

"That's right," he grinned. "I have a streak of Dutch stubbornness 
in me, and the Dutch is up this time. Pm going campaigning to the 
Pacific Coast and discuss every important issue of the campaign in a 
series of speeches." 

No trip was more carefully planned. Men like Senators Walsh of 
Montana, Pittman of Nevada, and Wheeler of Montana went along 
to make sure that responsible party leaders were let aboard. JL Arthur 
Mullen, powerful and mentally alert son of the Nebraska Democratic 
leader, went along to see that gate crashers were kept off. Flynn, 
Kennedy, and Moley went along too. Stephen T, Early and Marvin 
H, Mclntyre, newspaper friends of the candidate's days as Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy, who later became White House Secretaries, 
had charge of the press. I was the official glad hander and stimulator 
of the party faithful 

The western trip and other tours were a tremendous success* The 


First campaign 29 

candidate found enthusiastic crowds everywhere. He drove through 
miles of streets packed with cheering voters. His speeches were flashes 
of political lightning, followed by thunderous applause. 

Our troubles were vexatious but not damaging. One of our worries 
was the removal proceedings brought against Mayor James J. Walker 
of New York, In the midst of his campaign Roosevelt was compelled 
to sit in trial of Tammany's darling, the popular, dapper, witty chief 
magistrate of the nation's largest city. After a few weeks of hearings, 
Walker resigned. 

Some years later I brought them together in the White House. I 
asked Roosevelt if he would see Walker. He replied that he would be 
happy to do so. He had Walker down for tea and a chat on old times. 
Walker and I were friends to the day of his death. No friend could be 
truer or more companionable. 

Tammany bobbed up to trouble us again. Roosevelt wanted his 
Lieutenant Governor, Herbert H. Lehman, to succeed him at Albany. 
The Wigwam backed Mayor John Boyd Thatcher of Albany. After 
a bit of maneuvering Tammany capitulated and Lehman was nom- 
inated without a contest. At this period in its history Tammany was, 
unfortunately for itself and the Democratic cause in New York, guided 
by a kindly and honorable gentleman, who was far beyond his po- 
litical depth, John F. Curry. His political blunders and those of suc- 
cessors contributed to the downfall of the organization. 

Perhaps our biggest problem was Alfred Emanuel Smith. The ques- 
tion on every Democratic tongue was, "What will Al do?" On all 
sides reports were cropping up that Al considered Roosevelt unfit, 
untrustworthy, and unreliable. These whisperings were doing us no 
good* There was no open break, nor was there any show of friendli- 

The handshake heard and seen around the country came at a con- 
vention session in the vast armory at Albany. The building was 
jammed. Roosevelt came on the platform to the blaring of bands. 
Smith was in his seat as a delegate. When he rose to nominate Lehman 
and came forward with outstretched hand, pandemonium, broke 

30 Jim Farley's story 

"Hello, Frank, I'm glad to see you," Smith said enthusiastically. 

"Hello, Al, I'm glad to see you too and that's from the heart." 

I was the only one who heard the conversation. I was standing be- 
side them and had difficulty in hearing their words, because the tumult 
and the shouting were so great. The reconciliation was a great help to 
us. While it was theatrical in its own right, it was helped no end by a 
line written for the occasion by amiable and alert Fred Storm of the 
United Press. Big Fred was in the press section below the platform, 
where he could hear nothing. His wire was open before him and sput- 
tering a dot and dash request for text of the greeting. Reaching into his 
Albany correspondent background, Storm had an inspiration. He 
banged out a familiar Smith greeting, "Hello, you old potato." This 
line intrigued popular fancy and dramatized the reconciliation. 

In the late days of the campaign, when a Roosevelt victory was as 
certain as one could be, the candidate and I were chatting about the 
situation and discussing individuals who were handling the campaign 
around the country. Suddenly he cocked his head at me, as though a 
thought had just popped into it, and said, "Pve thought a lot about 
the problem that's going to be mine after I get to Washington. Jack- 
son and Lincoln and the others had their troubles with job seekers. 
Right now, Jim, I have determined definitely on only three appoint- 
ments Louis for rny secretary, George Dern for Secretary of the In- 
terior, and you for Postmaster General" 

I thanked him. I would be less than honest if I did not say I felt I 
had deserved it, since it was the common reward for successful cam- 
paign managers. The other appointments were made, except that Dern 
was switched to the post of Secretary of War* 

Out of the million and one scenes of the campaign the tears and 
the laughs one is etched vividly in my mind. We were having lunch 
at Hyde Park. I can see everyone in the group and the meeting at the 
table. Huey Long was down at the end of the table near Roosevelt 
and I was seated beside the President's mother. Huey was tossing "I's" 
about the dining room and sounding ideas at a great rate* He was ges- 
ticulating and blustering as was his fashion. At one point when he 
paused for breath, Mrs. Roosevelt leaned toward me and in a voice 

First campaign 31 

which carried around the table asked, "Who is that terrible person?" 
If Huey heard it, and Pm sure he did, he gave no sign but went on 
where he left off, albeit a bit less enthusiastically, I thought. 

Election night came at last with every promise of being a gala affair. 
The President-elect and Mrs. Roosevelt came to headquarters with a 
few friends and members of their family. Louis Howe refused to 
leave his own headquarters across the street where he was a well of 
pessimism, overflowing now and then with dire predictions, to the 
amusement of the rest of us. 

The first returns put us into the lead which we never lost. About 
eleven o'clock, when even Louie conceded that things "looked good/' 
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and I went over to pay him a visit. We found 
him hoarding favorable election returns and almost unable to wait until 
President Hoover's wire conceding defeat and offering congratula- 
tions should come in. 

This did not come until 2 A.M. With the wire in his hands, the 
President-elect suggested we open the door of his room and admit the 
hundreds of workers and other faithful to congratulate him. The hand- 
shaking went on and on and on. Among those who came were Al 
Smith, ever magnanimous; Kermit Roosevelt, the son of President 
Theodore Roosevelt; John J. Raskob; Senators Wagner and Cope- 
land; and Governor-elect Lehman. 

When Mrs, Farley reached his side, Roosevelt leaned over and whis- 
pered in her ear, "Get ready to move to Washington." 

"I'm not going to Washington," Bess replied. 

"Well, get ready anyway," he laughed, "because Jim is coming 
down there after the fourth of March." 

In the ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel, Roosevelt thanked the more 
than five hundred workers in the National Committee headquarters. 
In his brief remarks he said the major credit belonged to Louie and 
myself. I like to think he was right. 

Only one thing remains to be told of this campaign. Even then I 
had something of a reputation as a political prophet. On November 4, 
1932, 1 made a public prediction of the outcome of the election. I give 
it with the results as follows; 

Jim Farley's story 


Oregon 100,000 

Washington 1 50,000 

California 750,000 

Mountain States 300,000 

(Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, 
Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New 
Mexico and Arizona) 

Farm Belt 1,235,000 

(Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
Iowa, North Dakota, South Da- 
kota and Nebraska) 

Border States 1,000,000 

Illinois 850,000 

Michigan . , 1 50,000 

Ohio 250,000 

Indiana 1 50,000 

New Jersey 150,000 

New York 750,000 up 


Oregon 77,852 

Washington 144,605 

California 476,255 

Mountain States 2 

Farm Belt 1*203,594 

Border States 1,312,188 

Illinois 449548 

Michigan ,.,* 131,806 

Ohio . , , 74,016 

Indiana 184,870 

New Jersey 30,988 

New York 596,966 



THE GLOW of complete satisfaction I had on election night faded 
into cold irritation against the droves of office seekers who 
descended on us within a few days. Where I thought the 
worst was over, I found that my troubles had just begun. From elec- 
tion day I was swamped by job hunters. They thronged in my outer 
office; they stopped me on the streets; they came to my table in restau- 
rants; they did a Swiss bell ringer act on my phones, and they snowed 
me under a mountain of letters and telegrams. 

Of course, as President-elect, Franklin Roosevelt had his serious 
problems, and the job of Cabinet making was one of his most delicate 
tasks. Into ten chairs he must fit the party's deserving and able, giving 
thought to geographical, religious, and general qualifications. At Warm 
Springs shortly after his election, FDR talked to me again about his 
Cabinet, saying he wanted Senator Walsh of Montana for Attorney 
General, Senator Hull for Secretary of State, Senator Glass of Vir- 
ginia for Secretary of the Treasury, and Governor Dem for Secretary 
of Agriculture. He seemed to have difficulty in fitting Dern into the 
Cabinet, having previously mentioned him for the Interior post. 

At the conference he made it clear he was giving no consideration 
to Smith, Baker, Ritchie, Byrd, or Traylor, his rivals for the Democratic 
nomination, whom he had mentioned as possibilities in 1931, or to 
James M. Cox, the head of the ticket on which he ran in 1920. Presi- 
dential appointment of rivals to the Cabinet is not unprecedented, but 
it invites dissension and difficulty. Abraham Lincoln had four rivals 
in his official family Seward, Cameron, Chase, and Bates but he 
was not one to hesitate about naming men as strong or stronger than 
himself or to be influenced by personal dislikes. 

Senator Glass turned down the Treasury post as too great a strain 
for one of his years; and William H. Wopdin, New York industrial- 
ist, was selected. Senator Claude A. Swanson of Virginia was given 


34 Jifli Farley's story 

the Navy Department in recognition of his services and because of 
his long experience on House and Senate naval affairs committees. 
Henry Wallace was selected for Secretary of Agriculture because of 
his experience with farm problems and because his ideas for relief of 
industry paralleled those of Roosevelt. The Commerce scat went to 
Daniel Roper of South Carolina. Early in the Cabinet framing it was 
decided that the Interior Department should go to a progressive Re- 
publican, because of the substantial support the group had given the 
New Deal ticket. Senator Bronson Cutting of New Mexico refused 
the chair, as did Senator Hiram Johnson of California. At the request 
of Senator Johnson, supported by Arthur Mullen of Nebraska, it was 
given to Harold L. Ickes, who would have been content to serve as 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The position of Secretary of Labor 
went, in a precedent-breaking personal choice of the President, to 
Frances Perkins, who had served as Industrial Commissioner of New 
York State. 

During the cabinet making I gave a dinner at my home at 3 East 84th 
Street on the night of January 1 1, 1933. Our guests were Patrick Car- 
dinal Hayes, the guest of honor, the President-elect, Mrs. Roosevelt, 
Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Flynn, and Monsignor Robert F* Keegan, 
The dinner was remarkable for a note of prophecy struck by Roose- 
velt during a discussion of the problems of the Church in Mexico and 
the independence of the Philippines. 

"Most of the people in the Philippines are anxious for independ- 
ence," Roosevelt said, addressing the Cardinal. "But before they can 
be given full freedom, some guarantee of protection must be given 
them. The Philippines must have security from Japan, 

"After extending herself in China, Japan will be casting her eyes 
about for new fields of conquest. It is likely she will move southward 
and try to extend her possessions along a chain of islands even as far 
as Australia. Japan will give a lot of concern to the world generally 
within the next ten years." 

I do not have the time or space to go into the various appointments. 
It is sufficient to say that choices were made for a wide variety of rea- 
sons personal, political, geographical, and experience. Many ap- 
pointees were personal friends of FDR; others won their jobs for serv- 

On to Washington 35 

ices rendered the party; still others were named because Roosevelt was 
indebted to their sponsors, and not a few were selected because of 

While many criticize the spoils system, I have always felt that it is 
just as easy to find a good Democrat as a good Republican or vice versa 
and that the party in power should reward its own. With few excep- 
tions appointments passed through my hands during most of my seven 
and a half years in the Cabinet. Members of Congress made their recom- 
mendations to me and I passed them on to the President. In turn he 
took up with me at our frequent meetings those which came directly 
to him. 

From Warm Springs Roosevelt went to Jacksonville, where he 
boarded Vincent Astor's yacht Nourmahal for a ten-day cruise. The 
rest of the party went on to Miami. There I conferred with Demo- 
cratic leaders who had helped us and also with some who were telling 
how they had fought and bled for us when in reality they had done 
their best to stop Roosevelt in Chicago. I gave all a respectful ear, as 
behooves a national chairman interested in building a united party. 
I did have to suppress a laugh now and then as some leaders recounted 
what they had done, when I had in my files confidential reports on each 
delegation which disclosed that they had been doing just exactly the 
opposite. In this period I had several conferences with Mayor Cermak 
of Chicago on the situation in Illinois. 

I headed back for New York headquarters, arriving February 14, 
1933. The next night came the terrifying report that the President- 
elect had been fired upon by an assassin whose bullets struck down 
Cermak. The incident brought beads of cold sweat to the brows of 
Roosevelt's intimates. Being confident of his destiny, he was less con- 
cerned than any of us. Quietly the rest of us went about increasing his 
protection and dodging unnecessary risks. I don't think we fooled him 

As Inauguration Day neared, the banking system of the nation, un- 
dermined by the depression, began to sag ominously. From Washing- 
ton President Hoover sent frantic appeals for endorsement of his 
measures and for formation of a bipartisan program. Roosevelt was 
silent. The banking collapse began in Michigan on February 14, 1933, 

36 Jim Farley's story 

where the pressure of unemployment forced an eight-day bank holi- 
day. At the end of the eight days, the banks were still insolvent and 
remained closed. Fear surged from Michigan and panic seized the na- 
tion; depositors rushed to withdraw their savings. Banks began to 
collapse everywhere. 

Plans were made to leave New York for Washington on March 2, 
aboard a special train carrying members of Roosevelt's private and 
official families and friends. The day dawned tragically with news 
of the death of Attorney-General-Designate Thomas Walsh, Mon- 
tana's beloved and respected Senator. Given to superstition, FDR was 
concerned over this omen. After a hurried consultation, it was de- 
cided to give the post to Homer Cummings. The train was carrying the 
President-elect to meet a crisis comparable to that which faced Abra- 
ham Lincoln seventy-two years before, when the Union was crum- 
bling under waves of sectional strife. 

One person aboard the train was as lively as a cricket Mrs. Sara 
Delano Roosevelt, the President-elect's mother. When I mentioned 
the serious situation ahead, she said quite confidently, "I am not the 
least worried about Franklin. His disposition is such that he can accept 
responsibilities and not let them wear him down." 

Roosevelt was by no means gloomy, although he was fully aware 
of the problem before him. He would not have been human had he 
not been happy over the fact that he was 9n his way to take the helm 
of the nation, particularly since he was confident he would find means 
of dealing with the crisis. I dropped into a chair beside him. 

"On Inauguration Day, before the actual ceremony," he confided, 
"I am going to have all members of the Cabinet and their families 
accompany me to St. John's Episcopal Church, the 'Church of Presi- 
dents/ as it is known. I attended the church during my days as Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy in Wilson's time, 

"You know, I think a thought to God is the right way to start off 
my administration, A proper attitude toward religion, and belief in 
God, will in the end be the salvation of all peoples. For ourselves it 
will be the means of bringing us out of the depths of despair into which 
so many have apparently fallen." 

Roosevelt took a suite at the Mayflower Hotel I was in another 

On to Washington 37 

across the hall with my family. Flynn and Walker also had suites 
near by. I talked many times with Roosevelt during the hours pre- 
ceding his inauguration. The press of business was terrific. Everyone 
wanted to see the incoming President. By contrast, the White House, 
where President Hoover was spending his final hours, was practically 
deserted. I pondered the contrast during a walk around the Executive 
Mansion the night before March 4, 1933. 

The next morning Mrs. Farley accompanied me to the special church 
services conducted by Dr. Endicott Peabody, head master of Roose- 
velt's school, Groton. From the church the President drove to the 
White House. President Hoover came out, shook hands, and took a 
seat for the ride to the Capitol. Chief Justice Hughes, whose striking 
appearance made him the very personification of Justice, administered 
the oath of office, which the new President repeated after him in a 
firm voice. The First Inaugural Address, possibly his greatest speech, 
was magnificently delivered. 

After the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue past the 
White House, members of the new Cabinet and White House secre- 
tariat were instructed to gather in the Oval Room with their fam- 
ilies. This marked the first time I crossed the threshold of the nation's 
most famous dwelling. I was deeply stirred by thoughts of its famous 
occupants and of the historic events enacted therein. The President sat 
at a desk, smiling broadly. He called out the names of those to be 
sworn and each took the oath from Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo of 
the United States Supreme Court. Roosevelt then bade us welcome 
to the new administration and expressed the hope that we would work 
as a team for our common good and the best interests of the nation. 

"No Cabinet has ever been sworn in before in this way/' he con- 
cluded. "I am happy to do it in just this way because it gives the fam- 
ilies of the new Cabinet an opportunity to see the ceremony. It is my 
intention to inaugurate precedents like this from time to time." 

The last remark was something of an understatement. No President 
so shattered tradition and no President set so many precedents. Roose- 
velt had an instinctive flair for the dramatic which was to serve him 
well. In the hundred days following his inauguration, beginning with 
his summoning Congress into special session and his proclamation clos- 

38 Jim Farley's story 

ing all banks, the new President initiated a historic succession of relief 
and recovery measures. 

I have always felt that Roosevelt's Banking Day Address will go 
down in history as one of the greatest utterances of an American Presi- 
dent, It has always been my belief that the hundred days 7 session of 
the Congress in the spring of 1933 passed more legislation which was 
beneficial to the American people than any other session of a like 
nature in the history of the Republic. 

It is not my purpose to discuss the steps one by one because this is a 
personal story and I must, in all honesty, acknowledge that I had very 
little to do with his daring program. I was not in on its formation, 
although I was acquainted with measures as they developed; and my 
contribution was largely in helping to guide the program through 
Congress. From the outset he exhibited courage and daring, which was 
to characterize his administration. Perhaps the greatest manifestation 
of this side of his character was his assumption of personal respon- 
sibility for the spending of more than two billion dollars for the de- 
velopment of the atomic bomb in the war years. 

As President in the prewar years, Roosevelt was stamped by ad- 
ministrative daring and essential reform. Few, if any, can dispute the 
value of such organizations as the Securities and Exchange Commis- 
sion, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Home Own- 
ers Loan Corporation, All must concede the magnificence of such 
projects as Grand Coulee, Fort Peck, and the Tennessee Valley Au- 
thority. While these originated in other minds, he had the audacity 
to adopt them and follow them through* It is also true that he was the 
head of a party with a long tradition of advancing the status of the 
common man. Perhaps no President since Jackson did more for the 
common people or showed greater administrative courage* Roosevelt 
made mistakes. So have we all Perhaps his greatest mistake was in re- 
maining too long in office. He won himself a place in history in his first 
two terms. That position would have been enhanced had he with- 
drawn to the role of elder statesman in 1941, lending his aid to his suc- 
cessor. As it is, I am convinced that a large share of the world's ills 
today, and in this I have the support of many leading statesmen, may 

On to Washington 39 

be traced to the fact that he was a very ill man in the final year of the 
war. I will return to this subject later. 

The first Cabinet meeting was held on Sunday, March 5, 1933. Natu- 
rally, I was considerably impressed on taking my seat at the board of 
directors of the nation. The first meeting was largely a get-together, 
with Vice President Garner in attendance by special inclusion in the 
official family. There was a general outline of the banking situation. 

The second Cabinet meeting the following Tuesday was more in- 
teresting, because the new President again turned to the possibility of 
war with Japan. The Japs were swarming in Jehol Province toward 
the Great Wall of China. There was much discussion of Japan's atti- 
tude in the Orient, Japan's clashes with China, and other possible ave- 
nues of Japanese activity. The consensus was that, as neighbors, we 
should exert every effort to keep from getting involved and should 
make no diplomatic moves which might be so misconstrued as to 
plunge us into war. There was general agreement that we could defeat 
Japan by starvation, but that it would take from three to five years 
to do so. 

The President discussed possible plans of action in the event of war. 
Others made contributions. He said that our army would not be of 
material help; that we should abandon the Philippines and other islands 
in the far Pacific. Roosevelt said the Navy should be operated from 
Hawaii and air bases should be established in the Aleutians. He said 
we would have to depend largely on air bases in the Aleutians against 
Japan, because the fleet could not operate efficiently over great dis- 
tances. For every thousand miles the fleet moved away from its base, 
he explained, it would lose 10 per cent of its efficiency; so that if we 
started out with 100 ships from the West Coast, the fleet would only 
be 70 per cent efficient by the time it got 3,000 miles into the Pacific. 
Thirty per cent of the fleet would have to be diverted to furnish sup- 
plies and maintain communications, he said. 

During the early months of the administration, I had my hands 
more than full of patronage problems and repeal of the Eighteenth 
Amendment. I was on the road during the summer, particularly in 
the dry South, urging repeal as an expression of confidence in the 

40 Jim Farley's story 

Roosevelt recovery program. I know I helped in one quarter at least, 
because a life-long dry from Pennsylvania wrote me that he was go- 
ing to support repeal just to get me off the air. He said that every time 
he flicked on his radio, I was cluttering up the airways. I took a lot 
of good-natured joshing and some severe scolding for my support of 
the wet cause because I did not drink then, nor have I since. However, 
I had never favored prohibition and am convinced that the Volstead 
Act did much to tear down respect for law and order. 

In the same period, Roosevelt bobbed up with the suggestion that 
it might be advisable to have checking accounts with Postal Savings. 
After consultation with experienced postal men, I objected because it 
would put my department into the banking business. It was then sug- 
gested that the Treasury issue certificates of $5 and $10 which could 
be cashed only at post offices. Both suggestions were, fortunately for 
me, tabled as the recovery program got under way. 

Through the summer and into the fall, universal attention was 
focused on the World Economic Conference at London, which began 
badly and ended worse. Roosevelt torpedoed the conference from 
aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis. The American delegation was rendered 
ineffective by a break between Secretary of State Hull and Assistant 
Secretary of State Moley brought on by Roosevelt's radio message 
stating he would regard it as a "catastrophe" if the conference ceased 
the major effort "to bring about a more real and permanent financial 
stability and a greater prosperity to the masses of nations" than by 
minor attempts at temporary stabilization involving a few nations. 

I am not qualified to say whether the conference offered a chance 
to save the world from the war which came six years later* I leave 
that verdict to history. I do know that the collapse of the conference 
offered comfort to the opposition, who had been silenced by the ac- 
complishments of the administration up to that time. It was a reversal, 
though it did not seem to be a major one. It is my conviction that the 
President wrecked the conference because he thought bankers, whom 
he had castigated in his inaugural address, were engaged in a great 
international plot against him. I say this, because he told me Thomas 
Lamont of J. P. Morgan and Company was responsible for Herbert 
Bayard Swope's being on the American delegation. Larnont thought 

On to Washington 41 

that Swope might have some influence on Moley in connection with 
the stabilization scheme. FDR said Lamont had placed someone on 
the boat to contact Swope and Moley. He was quite incensed about 
this, saying Lamont was a personal friend and should not have acted so. 

Actually Swope was prevailed to go along to render public service. 
Swope was and is my valued friend, one who, while as courteous as 
any eighteenth century gentleman, never hesitates to tell the truth in 
a world where it has become the fashion, in giving advice, to offer 
flattery rather than facts. 

Moley was one of the ablest of the men around Roosevelt in the 
early days. He had a brilliant, analytical mind and a gift for marshalling 
ideas on paper. Unfortunately for him, he lacked schooling in the 
rough and tumble academy of practical politics. He was the core of 
the "Brain Trust," when it included Rexford Guy Tugwell, also of 
Columbia; Judge Samuel I. Rosenrnan, an adept word doctor; Adolph 
A. Berle, master mind on banking and corporations; and Hugh S. John- 
son, army officer and industrialist. Moley's departure was an immeasur- 
able loss to Roosevelt. Hugh, a phrase coiner and driving worker, 
stepped out of the advisory class into an executive role as adminis- 
trator of the contentious National Recovery Administration, where he 
demonstrated he could take criticism as well as dish it out. Like Moley, 
he left in a blaze of indignation, high-lighted by not a few purple 
passages, to become the author of a provoking and successful news- 
paper column until his untimely death. As is often the case with ad- 
visers, the Brain Trust did not exercise as much influence as the op- 
position endeavored to make the public believe. It is even doubtful 
whether they did as much in molding policy as they themselves be- 

In August of 1933, I was wrestling with ship subsidies, a subject 
about which I knew less than nothing. I spent nights poring over re- 
ports and studies, and days in gathering opinions from men of vari- 
ous interests. When I felt I knew what I was talking about, I trooped 
over to the White House with two of my assistants, Joe O'Mahoney 
and Bill Howes, to have FDR determine the policy for ship subsidies. 
The President indicated he was against subsidies generally, but ap- 
preciated that American ships must be kept on the high seas. He was 

4 2 Jim Farley's story 

against a ten year contract with the shipping companies, favoring a 
five year term, which the companies held was not long enough to 
compensate them for any vessels they might have to build under the 
existing shipping contract. 

The President asked me to look into the situation and try to effect a 
compromise. Senator Hugo Black of Alabama, who was investigating 
ship subsidies, came to my office. Black was startlingly frank, telling 
me he had looked into the activities of the Post Office Department of- 
ficials and found our record clear in every respect. Then he said his 
investigations had uncovered some facts which might prove em- 
barrassing when they were brought to light. One of the President's 
fishing companions had received 25,000 shares in a ship company for 
securing a favorable contract. Another, (he told me) also interested 
in shipping, had contributed $50,000 to the Roosevelt campaign, I 
went from my office to the White House to unfold the story to Roose- 
velt, knowing that he was about to take a second fishing trip in a few 
weeks. He was not in the least disturbed. 

"Jim, so long as it doesn't happen until after my boat trip, it's all 

He then switched to a report of his talk with Charles M. Schwab, 
chairman of the board of the Bethlehem Steel Company, and Myron 
C. Taylor, president of the United States Steel Corporation, In high 
glee, he told how he had discomfited the gentlemen when they said 
they were giving their employees a fair wage. 

"I told them quite bluntly they were not paying a living wage," 
he said, "Furthermore, I said that the miners had to live in *coke ovens* 
under very unsatisfactory conditions. And then I told Schwab that 
it would be unwise for him to appear in some mining sections because 
the miners were much incensed against such things as paying million 
dollar bonuses as had been done in the past. I looked him in the eye 
and went on to say hereafter the employees would receive a living 
wage and there would be no more million dollar bonuses paid to the 
top out of stockholders' money, They didn't like it, but they had to 

That fall I was plagued with the New York City campaign, Tam- 
many leaders persisted in their shortsighted policy and nominated 

On to Washington 43 

rogate John P. O'Brien, a scholarly jurist, but no executive, to run 
for Mayor. On September 21, 1933, 1 had dinner at the White House 
with the President, Ed Flynn, Vincent Dailey, and Missy Le Hand at 
which it was decided that Joseph V. McKee, young, able acting 
Mayor, should make the race. The President suggested we have 
committees of various sorts businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and 
others demand that he run. Flynn was to support him with the Bronx 
organization, of which McKee was a member. The President was not 
to take any part in the campaign, but said he would invite McKee to 
the White House "just to show the way the wind was blowing." He 
also said Secretary of Treasury Woodin, Secretary of Labor Perkins, 
and other prominent persons, affiliated with the national administra- 
tion, would endorse the candidate of the Recovery party. 

McKee was never invited to the White House. The promised ad- 
ministration help did not materialize. I went through with my promise 
that I would publicly state I would vote for McKee. When I did I 
was roundly attacked by Tammany Hall, which was another chapter 
of my political education. 

Earlier in the year I had made a trip, which was of great personal 
satisfaction. I was awarded an honorary degree, my first college de- 
gree, from the University of the South. It was pleasing to me to be- 
come a college man. Since then I have acquired over ten other honor- 
ary degrees. While these are flattering to my vanity, I would trade 
them all for an earned A.B. 

In the period between his election and his inauguration, Roosevelt 
had indicated he would seek to reestablish relations with Russia. On 
October 10, 1933, he addressed a letter to Mikhail Kalinin, President 
of the Soviet Union, asserting it was time two great nations resumed 
speaking to one another. In November, Maxim Litvinov, who im- 
pressed me as a sharp trader, arrived to conclude the recognition agree- 
ment. During the negotiations I had dinner with the President in the 
White House. 

"Everything is coming along splendidly and I am confident every- 
thing will work out all right," he told me when I mentioned the Rus- 
sian negotiations. "Of course, Litvinov wanted me to recognize Rus- 
sia and then work out the conditions. He's a great trader, but I wasn't 

44 Jini Farley's story 

going to let him get away with that. I made it clear that everything 
must be cleared up first." 

I asked about the problem of religious freedom, saying that many 
clergymen, of all faiths, were hoping the negotiations would be an 
opening wedge. I had hopes this might be so, but I was not without 
doubts, which history has shown, to my regret, were justified. 

"Oh, I was very definite on that," he said. "I told Litvinov the 
situation must be cleared up, because the people of this country give 
everyone the right to freedom of religious belief, and there is no rea- 
son why Russia should impose her ideas on Americans who might be 
in that country. I said guarantee of religious freedom must be given 
Americans before anything could be done. 

"And then, Jim, I threw one straight from the shoulder at him. 
You'll enjoy this. I told Litvinov that I knew he had his opinion of 
me, and that, in turn, I had my own ideas of him* Then I followed 
that up by saying I was willing to wager that five minutes before his 
time would come to die, and he was conscious of it, that he would be 
thinking of his parents and wanting to make his peace with God. Jim, 
he looked at me closely, but didn't say a word." 

Roosevelt threw back his head and laughed* 

A few days later at a Cabinet meeting, he produced the final agree- 
ment and said he would announce recognition of Russia at once* He 
said he felt the agreement would be very pleasing to the people of this 
country, and that those who had opposed recognition on religious 
grounds would no longer do so. He acknowledged that the safe- 
guards to religion involved Americans alone, but expressed himself 
confident he had opened the door to similar bargaining by other coun- 
tries. The weak point of this bargain was that there were only a 
handful of Americans in Russia, and that religious freedom in the 
Soviet Union was not advanced an iota. He said that because of the 
agreement we could collect 150 million dollars worth of debts which 
had accrued. In this, too, he was over optimistic, 

"Generally speaking," he concluded, "I feel I have driven a good 
bargain, not only for this country, but for the world, and that it will 
go a long way toward preserving the future peace of the world." 
As the year, which had been a most busy one for me t drew near 

On to Washington 45 

an end, I planned a rest cruise to Europe with Mrs. Farley. We sailed 
on the Conte di Savoia in November and had Litvinov for a fellow 
traveler. He spoke frequently of his appreciation for what Roosevelt 
had done, adding he would do everything in his power to fulfill the 
terms of the agreement. He impressed me as more slippery than sin- 

In Italy we had an audience with Pope Pius XI, who was as unas- 
suming as a parish priest, and dinner with Cardinal Pacelli, who was 
to succeed to the papacy in 1939. 1 also had an audience with II Duce, 
who reminded me of Huey Long. It was a hurried trip. We returned 
to New York the day before Christmas. 



THE YEAR 1934 brought me one of my saddest experiences in 
public life. I cannot think of it now without being stirred by 
regrets, although it has generally been forgotten. I refer to 
the cancellation of the air mail contracts. This was one of the most 
controversial decisions of the Roosevelt administration up to the third 
term and the war. 

On February 9, 1934, 1 issued an order, to be effective ten days later, 
canceling all domestic air mail contracts. Although the order was mine, 
the decision was approved by Attorney General Cummings and by 
President Roosevelt. It had general approval because a Senate investi- 
gating committee had found that the contracts were let without com- 
petitive bidding, as provided by law, and at figures wholly unjustified 
by the services rendered. 

In considering cancellation, I wanted to allow the domestic lines to 
continue to carry mail until new contracts could be negotiated. Cum- 
mings was behind me in this. The alternative was to have the Army, 
which had carried the first air mail fifteen years before, resume its 
flying until the contract situation was adjusted. General Benjamin F. 
Foulois of the Army Air Corps said the Army was ready to take over 
and the President favored giving the service an opportunity to dis- 
tinguish itself. 

The result was disaster after disaster* Ten brave young fliers lost 
their lives, as the country was swept by storms and gales. The army 
pilots took off in sleet, snow, fog, rain, and high winds with the bravery 
that comes of youth and esprit de corps. 

The unhappy series of accidents took all minds off any considera- 
tion of the ethics surrounding the negotiation of the private contracts. 
The wrath of an aroused public descended on my head as the author 
of the order canceling the contracts, I had learned in the past to take 
abuse and criticism, but when I was called a murderer, I began to 

Taking it on the chin 47 

look around frantically for help. I looked to the White House. No 
help came. I was hurt that the President had not seen fit to divert the 
wrath. Later I realized it was part of my job to take as many blows 
for him as I could. Nonetheless, a kind word would have been a great 
help when the lashes were falling. 

On March 10, the President issued an order instructing the Air 
Corps to curtail service. All service was suspended for a week, then 
resumed in better weather. Two months later the flying of air mail 
was turned back to private lines. 

During this period and throughout the year, I saw the President 
every few days either at his bedside, in his executive offices, at his 
Hyde Park home, or in the evening at the White House. We had many 
patronage problems. Members of Congress were seeking a greater 
voice in patronage, claiming their reelections depended upon getting 

The President was fully cognizant that 1934 was an election year, 
which would have an important bearing on his reelection in 1936. 
This was, naturally enough, his chief political goal. He felt, and I 
thoroughly agree, that it was most important that the Democratic 
party make gains in the Senate and House, because such advances 
would constitute a confirmation of his administration and its program. 

On June 28, just before leaving for a month's cruise, Roosevelt de- 
livered his first "fireside" chat of 1934. It was a review of the achieve- 
ments of the Seventy-third Congress and gave a recapitulation of his 
administration. It also previewed the program he intended to carry 
on in the future. I was invited to listen. When he had finished, I went 
over to congratulate him. With a wink, he asked, "Jim, didn't you 
think it was a good campaign document?" I agreed wholeheartedly, 
and we made much use of it. 

On my return in the fall from a series of political tours, I dictated 
the following letter to the President on November 3, 1934, the Satur- 
day before election: 

I am going right out on a limb now and make some very radical predic- 
tions about what is going to happen next Tuesday. I am quite willing to do 
this, so you can have a lot of fun kidding me Wednesday or Thursday, 
whenever you see me, if the results do not turn out as I predict 

48 Jim Farley's story 

I am certain we will elect Senators in the following states: Missouri, 
Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. (This proved 
to be one hundred per cent correct.) These are definite. I also feel we will 
elect Peter Gerry in Rhode Island and Francis Maloney in Connecticut; 
also Frank Picard in Michigan. (Error, Vandenberg was reelected.) I am 
not entirely sol'd on Michigan as far as Governor is concerned. (Partial re- 
demption of error.) 

If we had a real candidate in Delaware, we might win there. , . . (We 
did not.) 

I reserved Pennsylvania for the last so that you can be all set for it. I 
honestly believe Guffey is going to win. . . . (Correct) 

When w.e look ahead following this election, this year's group of Re- 
publican Senators should not contain more than nine names. (Right on the 
button, including Senators La Follette, Wisconsin Progressive, and Ship- 
stead, Minnesota Farmer-Laborite as republicans.) 

So far as the Congressional race is concerned, I believe whatever losses 
we have, if any, west of the Mississippi River, will be made up by the gains 
we will make in that territory, so that in the final analysis, we will stand 
about even. 

Three days after the election the President was grinning broadly 
as he came into the Cabinet room. We were all in our places when he 
was wheeled In. 

"I want to read a letter, written a day or so before the election, by a 
fellow who has been in politics some time," he began in mock serious- 
ness. "When I opened it I got mad, because I couldn't understand how 
anyone could be so foolish. I didn't think that anyone who had been 
around as long as this fellow would lose his head," 

Then he began reading the letter, noting that he had considered this 
or that prediction impossible or foolish. Then, speaking seriously, he 
said it was the most remarkable prediction he had ever heard of during 
his entire political career. (I still had a better one to come.) 

Saturday before election he phoned me at headquarters to ask how 
things looked. He was in high spirits and said, "Hello, Jim," As usual 
I addressed him as "Governor," a habit that clung from his service 
in Albany and that I was a long time in breaking. I told him that things 
looked great* 

After he had hung up, I found a note from him in my mail It was 
written in ink in his own hand and read: 

Taking it on the chin 49 


As soon as Election Day is past in fact on Saturday Nov. 3rd three 
days before election, please see to it that the cost of National Headquarters 
is from that date on cut to not to exceed $1,000 per week pay roll and not 
to exceed $500 a week for all other expenses. 


This was a bit of a shock. We had a loyal and faithful staff. It was 
true that we Democrats always had more difficulty raising money than 
our Republican brethren. 1936 was a presidential year when we would 
need every cent. And the note seemed to be ordering us to cut things 
pretty fine. This was especially so since many of the workers had been 
put on the staff by the President and on recommendation by Mrs. 
Eleanor Roosevelt. I threw the note in my files and stretched the pay 
rolls a bit. 

After voting on election day, Mrs. Farley and I went to Stony Point 
to talk and visit with old friends and neighbors. I have made it a prac- 
tice to return to my old home every election day and to say a prayer 
at my parents' graves. In the late afternoon I returned to headquarters 
to catch returns as they came in. The scene was a repetition of the 
presidential election night on a smaller scale. The President did not 
come, receiving returns in his family home. I talked to him a number 
of times. He was elated and so was I. We had quite a celebration around 
headquarters and entertained a number of distinguished visitors. 

Three nights before Christmas I received a phone call from the 
President in my Mayflower Hotel apartment. 

"Jim, it has just been brought to my attention that the Democratic 
organization in Chicago is to have a meeting and plans to endorse Ed 
Kelly as the Democratic mayoralty candidate for the April election." 
There was a disturbed note in his voice. 

"What do you want me to do?" I asked, puzzled. 

"I want you to take the necessary steps to stop Kelly's nomination." 
He was emphatic. 

"Why, I don't know if I could do it or whether it would be advisa- 
ble," I said. "Ill see what the situation is." 

I called various friends in Chicago, including persons not in poli- 
tics, and was told that it would be a mistake for the administration to 

50 Jim Farley's story 

oppose Kelly. There was agreement that Kelly could win regard- 
less of anything the administration might attempt. 

I saw the President the next morning and told him the story. I added 
my nickel's worth of advice and said I believed it would be a serious 
mistake to inject ourselves into the Chicago situation. Reluctantly 
FDR agreed, but he showed me a long letter from Secretary Ickes 
which had evidently spurred his original request. A White House copy 
is still in my files. 

My education as a politician continued to be in the School of Hard 
Knocks. At the turn of the year the New Deal's No. i problem child, 
Huey P. Long, tossed his mane and pawed the carpets of the Senate 
aisles, as he snorted and whinnied in demanding an investigation of 
me. As I look back on it now, the whole affair was just another one 
of the tempests under Capitol Dome, which seem highly important 
as they rage, but soon fade into forgetfulness. I learned that the best 
way to ride out a storm of vicious, unfair attacks is to put your trust 
in a clear conscience and show that your hands are clean. 

Day after day, Huey was threatening to "blow the roof off the 
Capitol" Skillfully he wove together a varied assortment of unrelated 
truths, half-truths, innuendoes, insinuations, and downright lies. He 
intimated that he was prepared to expose the Roosevelt administration. 
I was unworried, because I knew I was completely innocent I was, 
however, annoyed. I knew that Long was not concerned with me, but 
was sighting his oratorical guns on the Roosevelt administration, hav-* 
ing third-party ambitions in 1936. 

Roosevelt was aware that he was the real target of Long's attack 
and was most anxious that I clear myself. I was disappointed that, 
knowing the charges to be without foundation, he did not issue a state- 
ment on my behalf. 

The answers to Long's charges were placed before the Senate in 
my behalf by Senator Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina, No mem- 
ber of the United States Senate did more for me in that fight than Sena- 
tor Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee. I will always feel grateful to him. 
In the vote, largely on party lines, the Senate decided Long had failed 
to establish the shadow of a case. I was pleased when such outstanding 

Taking it on the chin 51 

members of the opposition as Johnson of California, Borah of Idaho, 
and Shipstead of Minnesota voted against Long. 

After the shooting was all over, Long told an acquaintance of mine 
that he had brought the charges against me because "Jim was the big- 
gest rooster in the yard, and I thought if I could break his legs, the rest 
would be easy.'' 

That summer he was felled by an assassin's bullets. It is to be re- 
gretted he was removed from the national scene by bullets rather than 

The ifs of politics are always interesting. One frequently considered 
is what would have happened had Huey lived. As I said before, I did 
not underestimate the man, although personally I regarded him as a 
cowardly braggart. The Democratic National Committee conducted 
a secret poll on Long's bid for national power which disclosed, to our 
surprise, that he might poll between 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 votes at 
the head of a third party. His support was not confined to Louisiana 
and near-by states, but his "share the wealth" program was attracting 
strength in industrial and farm areas of the north. 

Long was the most formidable of the then current array of dema- 
gogues of the "Damaged Souls" school, our poll showed. It was con- 
ceivable that his third party movement might constitute a balance of 
power in the 1936 election, although indications were that he would 
cost us no more than the electoral votes of a few states. He was high 
in our political thoughts, however, because the poll indicated that he 
could control at least 100,000 in New York State, which could have 
been a critical bloc, particularly since he was recruiting Democrats 
rather than Republicans. 

I am firmly convinced Long would have been a source of annoy- 
ance rather than a threat in 1936. What he might have done in 1940 
is difficult to conjecture. It is possible that the Senate might have re- 
fused to seat him. This might have been food and drink to dictator 
ambitions, however, and made him so formidable that FDR would 
have passed up his try for the third term, as some observers believe. 
I have great confidence that sooner or later he would have disgusted 
the public by his clowning and arrogant blustering. 

52 Jim Farley's story 

In the summer of 1935 Roosevelt and I discussed the President's 
position before the country. Quite frankly I told him that he had lost 
ground, but that I saw no cause for alarm. I expressed myself certain 
he would pick up as the campaign came around, since it was only 
natural there should be a falling off in a noncampaign year. lie told 
me to forget about resigning from my Cabinet seat, as I had offered 
to do after the vote on the Long imbroglio, and asked me to have a 
long talk with him about conditions on his return from a Warm Springs 

On May i, 1935, at my request, the President summoned Vice Presi- 
dent Garner, Speaker Byrnes, Senate Majority Leader Robinson, At- 
torney General Cummings, Secretary of State Hull, former Congress- 
man Charles West, Frank Walker, and myself to the White House for 
a night meeting. When we had seated ourselves in his oval study, he 

"I've called this meeting in order to have a heart to heart talk about 
conditions in general, and I want everyone to be free to express him- 
self frankly, I'm going to start off by saying that Henry Wallace 
has made a number of speeches, particularly in Massachusetts, which 
have been tactless and probably will have a bad effect politically. Pm 
going to speak to him about it on his return, 

"And Harold Ickes has done harm, particularly in the speech he made 
at Philadelphia in which he talked about Townsend, Long, and Cough- 
lin. I had no objections to what he said about Long or Townsend, but 
his reference to Father Coughlin was very unwise* Right now Frank 
Murphy is doing a splendid job in handling Coughlin* Pm going to 
make him High Commissioner of the Philippines and bring him back 
after a month or two so that he may devote his entire time to the 
Coughlin situation." 

I urged that we become politically minded and do everything pos- 
sible to satisfy the Senators, Congressmen, and state leaders, who would 
have to carry the load in the 1936 campaign* 

"And I want to say, without flattery, I think you have done a 
splendid job, considering the obstacles placed in your way by ambitions 
and jealousies/' I said. 

"I shaU endeavor to carry on in such a way that my successor will 



Tlie Honorable 

The Postmaster General, 
3 East 84tn Street, 
New York City, N. Y. 

"Private & Confidential" memos from FDR to me were not unusual. 
But this one, dated November 3, 1934, came as a shock (see page 49). 



November 4, 1936 

Dear Jim: 

lou were right so right that I thought 
you were more of an optimist than a prophet. I find 
I am the one who needs to have his long-range spec- 
tacles adjusted. But in this instance Jim, I don't 
mind heing wrong at all. 

Very sincerely yours, 

Honorable James A* Farley, 


Democratic National Campaign Committee, 

Hotel Biltmore, 

New York, . I. 

Here is FDR's special testimonial letter for me, intentionally predated, which 
Charley Michelson requested late in January of 1937. 1 hadn't received any previous 
letter, thanking me for my services, since 1930 (see page 70). 

Taking it on the chin 53 

be able to carry out the policies of the Democratic party," Roosevelt 
said. "You all know that when Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt, 
Taft brought back the old crowd much to TR's disappointment. 

"I am going to do all in my power to prevent a continuance of con- 
ditions which would permit Wall Street to dominate not only the 
policies but the politics of the nation. Of course, everything can't be 
accomplished in a year or two. It took Jefferson twenty years to have 
his policies approved by the people of the country." 

On the week end of May i r, 1935, the President was at the Wood- 
mont Gun and Rod Club, Maryland, with a party. Vice President 
Garner and I rode back to Washington with him. During the trip he 
discussed the bonus and other legislation. Garner told him that the right 
thing for him to do would be to veto the bonus, in temperate language, 
so as not to incur the ill-feeling of veterans, explaining that he had 
to maintain the credit of the nation. 

Garner and I said it would be best for the party if the bonus were 
passed over the President's veto. The President agreed that if the bill 
were passed over his veto, it would not affect the credit of the country 
and would not have the inflationary effect which many feared. We 
felt that the money, if made available in the next three months, would 
move into trade and commerce and would do much toward bringing 
about recovery. 

Eight days later I was in Monticello, New York, dedicating a post 

office, when I was ordered to report to the White House the next day 

for a conference on the bonus situation. I thought the matter had been 

thrashed out pretty well and couldn't imagine what was up. I found 

. Roosevelt fuming. 

"Jack Garner has been talking too much," he said. "He's got me in 
a spot where I can be accused of bad faith if the bonus is passed over 
my veto." 

"Is our conversation on the return trip from Woodmont over- 
board?" I asked. 


"I can't believe Jack let it out," I said. "Did you talk to anyone else?" 

"It's out," he said curtly. "I want you to contact Robinson and 
work with him to get enough Senators to uphold my veto." 

54 Jini Farley's story 

This I did. The President was a bit jumpy because he was aware, 
from our reports, that in recent weeks his popularity had dropped. 
The National Committee's secret poll found him weaker than at any 
time since Inauguration. I was certain the picture would improve and 
that he would win by more than 5,000,000 votes. 

That month the Supreme Court took to overhauling the New Deal 
In the process, the nine old men began throwing vital parts of the 
machinery out the window. The Railroad Retirement Act was in- 
validated by a 5 to 4 decision. Two weeks later the Coal Conservation 
Act followed by a vote of 6 to 3. A week later in Lowsville Joint Stock 
Land Bank v. Radford, the Court limited Congressional power to limit 
distress of the huge number of bankrupts. And in a unanimous deci- 
sion in a case involving the marketing of allegedly ill poultry, the Court 
ended the NRA. The Blue Eagle was literally replaced by a sick 

The President was bitterly disappointed and angry over the deci- 
sion. At a Cabinet meeting he talked disparagingly of the Court and 
of its members. He did not criticize the decision of the Court at the 
meeting, but he had already done so in his press conference statement, 
"We have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of inter- 
state commerce." This hurt him, I thought, but he was convinced that 
he had popular support on the NRA* 

Roosevelt was never down in the dumps for any length of time* At 
the next Cabinet meeting he indulged in a bit of needling that I shall 
always remember. Miss Perkins was discussing the Social Security 
Board. The thoughts of the rest of us were wandering, because she did 
considerable talking at official family sessions* 

"When you get around to it," the President began in a tone that let 
us all know something was coming. When he knew he had our at- 
tention he repeated with studied innocence, "When you get around 
to it, I want to talk to you about an old flame of Jack GarnerV* 

The Vice President blushed to the roots of his picturesque white 
eyebrows. The President roared with laughter. We all joined in* Then 
Garner made a plea for the appointment of Miss Margy Neal to the 
board, riding out the laughter by detailing her qualifications* It was t 
of course, merely a presidential jest* 

Taking it on the chin 55 

Election night, 1935, I was in headquarters. We were disappointed 
over losing the control of the New York State Assembly. However, 
when I talked to Roosevelt he was jubilant because in his home dis- 
trict, which he had failed to carry in 1932, a Democratic supervisor 
was elected for the first time in forty years. 

"And Jim," he chortled, "the issue was the New Deal." 

Analysis of the New York vote showed the federal administra- 
tion was sustained by more than 500,000 majority. This was a suffi- 
cient answer to any question of Roosevelt's popularity. We were 
happy over the election of A. B. Chandler as governor of Kentucky by 
the largest majority for a state office in Kentucky's history, but we 
were unhappy over our failure to capture the city administration in 

On November 14, 1935, during a luncheon at the President's desk, 
I said I had been advised that Secretary of War Dern was surprised 
by the appointment of General Malin Craig as Chief of Staff of the 
United States Army. Dern was then visiting Hawaii. I was also sur- 
prised since I had supported Major General Hugh Drum. 

"Your information is absolutely correct, Jim," Roosevelt laughed. 
"He didn't know about it. Yon see General Douglas MacArthur, dur- 
ing his service as Chief of Staff, had been trying to have all his favorites 
placed in responsible positions. He was arranging it so that he would 
be succeeded by Major General George S. Simonds. 

"Last spring Simonds had four years left to go before retirement and 
could have served out the term of a Chief of Staff. I had to think fast, 
so I asked MacArthur to stay until October on the representation that 
I needed him to assist in the formulation of legislation relative to the 
War Department. 

"MacArthur stayed. When October rolled around Simonds only 
had three and a half years to serve and that eliminated MacArthur's 
man. If I had told Dern about it, he might have mentioned it, inno- 
cently, to someone in the War Department clique and pressure might 
have been brought to bear to force the appointment of Simonds while 
he still had four years to go. Consequently, I waited; then when Dern 
and MacArthur left the country, I made the appointment." 

Roosevelt talked at length about the war Mussolini had forced on 

56 Jim Farley's story 

Ethiopia. This, along with Hitler's formal announcement of German 
rearmament were the major international developments of the year. 
He predicted that the League of Nations meeting, which was to open 
within a week, would be the start of a sanctions movement that would 
seriously cripple Italy. At all times Roosevelt was much more inter- 
ested in foreign affairs than he indicated in public utterances and press 

"I know I'm walking a tight rope and I'm thoroughly aware of the 
gravity of the situation," he said. "All I have tried to do is prevent the 
shipment of implements of war to Italy. I do not consider oil, cotton, 
automobiles, trucks, and the like implements of war, although some na- 
tions do. Later it may be necessary for me to publish a list of the Amer- 
ican firms making shipments of materials to Italy, which are being used 
in prosecution of the war. I realize the seriousness of this from an in- 
ternational as well as a domestic point of view." 

In this connection he mentioned the fact that Ambassador Breckin- 
ridge Long did not want to return to Italy. I took the opportunity to 
press for the appointment of James W. Gerard, wartime ambassador 
to Germany and faithful servant of the Democratic party* Roosevelt 
was evasive, saying he did not want to make any commitment for a 
long period until after the 1936 election. I had proposed Gerard for 
Paris; Roosevelt promised favorable action, but William C Bullitt was 
named. I had suggested Gerard for Rome; Roosevelt was sympathetic, 
but William Phillips was nominated. Gerard told me to cease my ef- 
forts, holding that Roosevelt would never forget the defeat he suf- 
fered at Gerard's hands in the Democratic senatorial primary of 1914. 
Nonetheless, I persisted and succeeded in having Gerard named as 
the President's representative at the coronation of King George VI 
in 1938. 

After his fall vacation at Warm Springs, the President went to Chi- 
cago and spoke at the International Live Stock Exposition, pointing 
with pride to New Deal agricultural accomplishments. That afternoon 
en route to South Bend, Indiana, where he received an honorary de- 
gree at the University of Notre Dame, we spent more than an hour 
discussing the coming presidential campaign. Frank Walker joined this 

Taking it on the chin 57 

"I think we ought to conduct a very aggressive campaign, Jim," he 
said. "Every effort should be made to get public sentiment in our 
favor before the Republican convention meets. I'm going to send Ickes 
out on a week's tour. Then I'll send out Wallace and Cummings, and 
maybe Roper. The trouble is most of the fellows get into matters 
they have no business touching on, like Ickes discussing oil and Roper 
interpreting the neutrality agreement." 

"If I can offer some advice," I said, "I would use Ickes where his 
department has been active and where PWA has rendered service. 
Harold deserves every credit for a splendid job there. I'd use Wallace 
in the farm areas and keep him away from industrial sections. I don't 
think Harry Hopkins should make any speeches, since he has been the 
target of much unfavorable criticism. People are being led to believe 
his sole purpose is to create jobs and spend money, regardless of neces- 
sity. I don't think Rex Tugwell should be used either." 

"I agree thoroughly," Roosevelt said. "I'm going to take steps to 
eliminate criticism in the future. 

"By the way," he continued, "I have been thinking of the two-thirds 
rule. I think now that the party is in power and there is no question 
about my renomination, we should clear up the situation for all time 
and submit the matter to the convention." 

I replied I would prepare a resolution for submission to the meeting 
of the Democratic National Committee early in the coming year. 

At the Cabinet meeting of December 27, 1935, the President looked 
bad. He was suffering from a cold, his face was drawn, and his reactions 
were slow. It was the first time I thought the strain of office was telling 
on him. However, I was summoned to his bedside three days later 
and found him much better, looking like his former self. 



THE 1936 ELECTION was one of the high- water marks of Amer- 
ican politics. Some have been kind enough to call it "the cam- 
paign without a mistake." I wouldn't go so far, nor do I con- 
sider it the peak of my career. Personally, I prefer the campaign of 
four years later, when I suffered defeat, but went down fighting for 
a principle. 

Not since the days of Washington and Monroe had a candidate re- 
ceived such a popular plurality or such an overwhelming electoral 
vote, actually or proportionately. This result was due in a large meas- 
ure to the personal popularity of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to his 
keen insight into political advantage. It was also due to magnificent 
teamwork in the Democratic National Committee and Democratic 
state, county, and city organizations throughout the country. We be- 
gan at the first of the year and never let up until the polls closed ten 
months later. We tried not to miss a single trick. We didn't miss many. 
In the call for the convention, the National Committee voted to in- 
clude the question of abrogation of the two-thirds rule. There was 
sufficient strength in the committee to block inclusion of the contro- 
versial question in the call, but I induced the objectors to fall into 
step* When the third term issue arose four years later, many of these 
reminded me that I had made the nomination possible because of this 
change. I don't think the responsibility for the change is entirely mine 
and, if it is, I still believe the change should have been made years 

On January 19, 1936, I rode from New York City to Washington 
with Roosevelt after his dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Me- 
morial I put in a few licks for veto of the bonus bill When I finished 
my argument, he leaned over, grasped my hand, and said, "Thanks 


Second campaign prophet with honor 59 

very much for your statement; most of the people I have talked to have 
urged me to sign it." Then he added he felt the bill would be passed 
over his veto anyway, so that the party would not suffer and he could 
preserve his record. 

Three days later I told the President the campaign proper would 
largely be a one man show, that he would have to carry the load. I 
said that while the public would listen to our speakers, they wanted 
to hear him and that it would be necessary for us to buy time for him 
on the radio. He was very anxious that we start organizing different 
committees at once, such as Friends of Roosevelt, Good Neighbor 
League, Roosevelt Republican League, and the 'Committee of One. He 
was captivated by the last-named group, the theory of which was that 
everyone friendly to the administration constitute himself a "Com- 
mittee of One" to sell the New Deal to others. 

"In the Committee of Twelve/ 7 he continued, "I would like to have 
five clergymen. I think we should have a Catholic priest, a Baptist 
minister, a Presbyterian minister, an Episcopalian minister, and a 

"What about the Methodists?" I asked. 

"Well, we could leave out the Jews," he laughed. "No, there are 
more of them than there are Episcopalians. Take the Jews and leave 
out the Episcopalians." 

In late January, Smith made his "I'm going to take a walk" Liberty 
League speech. Our strategy board debated about finding someone 
to answer him and finally chose his 1928 running mate, Senator Joseph 
T. Robinson of Arkansas. Roosevelt did not consider the Smith speech 
too damaging. In fact, he thought we got the better of the break be- 
cause the Senator effectively contrasted AFs statements in the past with 
his desertion of party. 

On February 7, 1936, in discussing the defections of Smith and John 
J. Raskob, my predecessor as chairman, the President told me a most 
interesting story. 

"At the time Smith and Raskob were trying to get me to run for 
Governor, I told Raskob I had some obligations at Warm Springs," 
he said. "I had thought I was out of politics and intended to operate the 
resort. Raskob wanted to know what they were. I told him it would 

60 Jim Farley's story 

take a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Raskob assured me he 
would assist in getting the money and promised $50,000 himself. 

"Well, to make a long story short, he made a payment of $12,500 
in 1928 and a like amount in 1929. He made another payment in 1930 
or 1931, but he still owes $12,500 on the promise he made to me at 
the time I agreed to run for Governor to help him and Smith." 

Raskob made the final payment as pledged. 

In the next month a curious parallel involving Roosevelt cropped 
up in the campaign. There was a whispering campaign that Roosevelt 
was not a man of his word because he had gone back on a pledge to the 
Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. I wrote to the White 
House asking for information and got the following reply from Mar- 
guerite Le Hand, the President's personal secretary: 

You can tell . . . that while the President is not in the habit of telling 
the world all about his contributions to charity, there is no reason why 
. . . you should not know in confidence, that several years ago the Presi- 
dent was the Chairman of the drive to raise money for the Cathedral of 
St. John the Divine in New York, that the drive was extremely successful 
and $10,000,000 was given or pledged. At that time the President pledged 
a gift of $5,000, to be paid in installments as fast as he was in a position to 
do so. $1,000 was paid in 1934 and $1,000 a month or two ago. Naturally 
the additional $3,000 will be paid in accordance with the original pledge. 

In addition to this the President gave, at the time of the drive $100 in the 
name of each of his children, or a total of $500. The total of these sums is, 
of course, very large in view of the President's somewhat limited financial 

Will you find out confidentially where the story came from? 

Late in February Roosevelt called me to the White House for a 
general review of the political situation. In its course he expressed his 
annoyance with the courts, particularly the Supreme Court. Mclntyre, 
Early and the President's brother-in-law, Hall Roosevelt, were at this 
conference. Former Congressman Charles West of Ohio was also there, 

'Tve been thinking that it would be a good idea if we could appoint 
fifty Federal judges to hold office for about five years," he said. "They 
could hold roving commissions which would permit them to operate 
in sections of the country where they could be helpful. What do you 
think? " 

Second campaign prophet with honor 61 

Mclntyre and I didn't like it. Early, West and Hall Roosevelt 
thought it might be good. Mclntyre said that if we could get the Chief 
Justice to recommend the legislation, it would be all right, which 
prompted a presidential suggestion that Homer Cummings get Chief 
Justice Hughes to make the suggestion. I have often thought this was 
the germ of the Supreme Court packing plan, which he was to give 
Congress a year later. 

Late in March the President went on a Florida vacation. Although 
he was tired, he was in excellent humor and exceedingly happy over 
the evident turn in his favor in recent months. 

On April 18, 1936, Louis Howe died in his sleep. I was genuinely 
distressed at his death, because he had helped my political education 
more than any one man. He was as loyal as any man I ever knew. 1 
shall never forget his rapt expression when, in urging me to postpone 
my vacation for a week to help "Franklin," he said, "I have done 
these things for Franklin for years, Jim postponed vacations, can- 
celed engagements, and the like too many times to mention." 

I never went to the White House while he was well that I did not 
call on him. I visited him frequently when he was ill and tried to call 
him by phone at least once a day. 

On April 20, 1936,. the President expressed to me how badly he felt 
about the passing of his faithful friend. Then he said to me, "But in 
view of the circumstances, it must be considered a blessing in disguise, 
because Louis had been getting to the point where he gave a lot of 
orders that were annoying and likely to cause a lot of trouble. He in- 
dicated that he was going to go to headquarters in the Biltmore Hotel 
to run the campaign and if he did that, of course, he would cause a 
lot of confusion." 

On May 19, 1936, the President and I went over the entire political 
situation. He said he thought he would take another boat trip off 
the coast of Maine as he had done in 1932, following the convention. 
Then he could inspect PWA projects and flood damage in New Eng- 
land. He thought he might follow the inspection pattern in other 
states, although he proposed to spend most of the summer between 
Hyde Park and Washington. 

"And, of course, there won't be anything political about the inspec- 

6z Jim Farley's story 

tion trips." He gave me a broad wink and threw back his head and 

One of my western trips got me into hot water. At Grand Rapids, 
Michigan, on May 22, 1936, 1 referred to Alf Landon as Governor of 
"a typical prairie state." The newspapers picked it up and made what 
political capital they could out of it. On May 22, Roosevelt dispatched 
an admonitory memorandum to me, which read; 


I thought we had decided that any reference to Landon or any other 
Republican candidate was inadvisable. 

Now that the water is over the dam, I told Michelson that possibly a 
somewhat facetious reference to Frank Knox between now and June ninth, 
by you might soften the effect of the Landon reference. 

Another good rule which should be passed down the line to all who are 
concerned with speech material is that no section of the country should be 
spoken of as "typical" but only with some laudatory adjective. If the sen- 
tence had read "one of those splendid prairie states," no one could have 
picked us up on it, but the word "typical" coming from any New Yorker 
is meat for the opposition, 


I deserved it. It was a blunder I should have caught. After all, I was 
aware that a phrase can lose a campaign. I knew Grover Cleveland 
owed his election in 1884 to the remark, "Rum, Romanism and Rebel- 
lion," made by the Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Burchard, a supporter of James 
G. Elaine, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel Happily for me, my remark cost 
us few, if any, votes although it was a nine day wonder in its own time. 

The Democratic convention at Philadelphia was more of a family re- 
union than anything else. We could have completed our work in one 
day and gone home* The convention's crescendo of Democratic en- 
thusiasm came the night of Saturday, June 27, when Roosevelt stood 
in the glare of massed spotlights to address more than 100,000 persons 
seated in the dark horseshoe of Franklin Field* Millions throughout 
the country heard his fighting denunciation of "economic royalist." 

Within the week I was back at my desk in headquarters organizing 
for the campaign. The process was largely one of swinging from pre- 
convention to postconvention campaigning. We were smoothly un- 
der way before the Republicans were getting started. The Republican 

Second campaign prophet with honor 63 

machine had been smashed by two election defeats, so I was quite 
confident it could not be in running order by Election Day. 

On July 7, 1936, the President, Mclntyre, Early, Michelson, "Chip" 
Robert, and myself had a strategy meeting at the White House. We 
considered at what moment Harold Ickes should take out after Alf 
Landon, deciding the attacks should come after Landon had made his 
acceptance speech. 

"I also think it would be a good idea to have speeches made by the 
Ministers and Ambassadors who are or will be in the country," Roose- 
velt said. "They could speak effectively in cities where there are a 
goodly number of inhabitants from the countries they represent 
abroad. They could bring out forcefully the fact that this country is 
a peaceful nation and that all the others in North and South America 
are living together in a peaceful manner, while the governments in Eu- 
rope are crumbling. They could go on to say these governments are 
looking to this country as the savior of the world. They could say that 
the people in this country have confidence in Roosevelt as do the peo- 
ple abroad. This could be most effective." 

This employment of envoys to unite various groups of nationals be- 
hind the New Deal, although most effective in both the 1940 and 1944 
campaigns, was a mistake. For men charged with representing this na- 
tion in foreign lands should not run political errands. I said so at the 

Everything was moving along nicely in July and August, except for 
me. I was collecting an assortment of punches, many of them below 
the belt. I was accused of bribing voters with relief and other public 
funds. I was portrayed as the worst type of spoils politician. What I 
caught was nothing to what the President took. Lest anyone have an 
impression to the contrary, unfair criticism and unwarranted attacks do 
not roll off me like water off a duck's back. They do hurt the more 
unjust, the deeper the hurt but I do not let them rob me of my peace 
of mind or warp my outlook. 

In this period I called Harry Hopkins to complain about his making 
speeches on relief during his western trip. I told him that 75 per cent 
of the complaints we were receiving were about WPA and that most 
of the dissatisfaction within the party had been caused by WPA. Evi- 

64 Jim Farley's story 

dently he found my frankness disturbing, because he phoned me Au- 
gust 24 to say we were real friends and that he did not want anything 
to come between our friendship. I told him that I might be wrong, 
but believed that the people had the impression he was a spendthrift 
and that he was extravagant in his use of government funds. 

On September 17, 1936, Garner visited me at New York head- 
quarters. He told me that in two recent talks with the President 
he had mentioned my contribution to the campaign, adding that I 
should be entitled to every consideration for the effort I was put- 
ting forth* 

"The Boss told me he appreciated what I had to say and my frank- 
ness," Garner said, "but he said no more. Could it be he's a little jealous 
of your popularity in the party?" 

I said I didn't know, Roosevelt hadn't said anything to me one way 
or the other since the "prairie state" episode. 

Roosevelt opened his avowed political campaign at the Democratic 
state convention in Syracuse, New York, September 29. He received 
a marvelous ovation and his speech was great. From that moment on, 
the campaign was a triumph. Everywhere he went, crowds jammed 
to see and hear him. This bore out my contention through the months 
that the campaign was a one man show and that he was more popular 
than the New Deal itself. This insistence displeased some members of 
the circle around him, Perhaps the height of the campaign was reached 
at Chicago on October 14 when 500,000 persons turned out to greet 
him in the most enthusiastic demonstration I have ever seen. Some 
150,000 men and women marched from the station to the Chicago 
Stadium, singing and chanting, to hear him make possibly the greatest 
speech of the campaign. In ringing tones he struck at those aligned 
against him, particularly industrialists. In his address he said that it was 
his administration that "saved the system of private profit and free 
enterprise after it had been dragged to the brink of ruin by these same 
leaders who now try to scare you*" 

His trip through Connecticut and Massachusetts at the end of Octo- 
ber was another triumphal procession. He wound up the campaign, 
as he had that of 1932, with a speech in Madison Square Garden, Octo- 

Second campaign prophet with honor 65 

her 3 1, the Saturday before election. The speech was received with the 
greatest enthusiasm. Early in the day he had visited headquarters and, 
in the course of an expression of thanks to the workers, took the occa- 
sion to answer those who had vilified me, He said: 

"I am proud of the fact that our information has been kept at a 
pretty high level. One reason for that is the fact that we have at the 
head of this campaign a man who has always been square. 

"I have known Jim Farley for a great many years and I have never 
known him yet to do or think a mean thing. 

"For a long time now for a good many years, he has been taking 
it on the chin taking it with a smile and not batting an eyelid, be- 
cause, I think, in the back of his head he has had the idea that in spite 
of all kinds of unfair attacks, the American people, just like you and 
me, will read him for what he is, absolutely on the level. 

"And incidentally, of course, I get reports not only from Jim but 
from lots of people about what has been going on here in New York, 
and I have come to the very definite conclusion that the national head- 
quarters this year has been what we call in the Navy *a happy ship'! 
No crossed wires, everything clicking; and the result is going to bear 
that out next Tuesday, 

"And I am very grateful, grateful to you all from Jim down to the 
office boy. And maybe the office boy will be National Chairman or 
President about thirty years from now." 

On November i, 1936 I sat down and wrote my election predic- 
tion in a headquarters pool. It read: 




On election eve I sent a messenger from headquarters to the Presi- 
dent at Hyde Park with a book containing copies of letters from Demo- 
cratic leaders, giving their picture of the situation. I summarized each 
state and included my prediction: 

"After looking them all over carefully and discounting everything 
that has been given in these reports, I am still definitely of the opinion 
that you will carry every state but two Maine and Vermont." 

66 Jim Farley's story 

I went into details on a number of states and various contests within 
states and concluded: 

"I am risking all the reputation I have, if any, as a prophet, but I 
am very sincere about it because as you know we have discussed this 
situation many times." 

I talked to the President a dozen times on election night- He was 
overjoyed, as well he might have been, as the landslide grew* I was 
talking to him when Landon conceded defeat at 1:45 A.M. I gave him 
the latest reports as they came into headquarters- Once I called him to 
demand, "Who are the fourteen persons who voted against you in 
Warm Springs? You ought to raise hell with them." 

When, at 3:36 A.M* I got the information from John L. Sullivan of 
Manchester, New Hampshire, that Roosevelt had pulled ahead in that 
city, I knew that my prediction would stand up. I left headquarters 
tired but elated. It was a wonderful victory. 

The next morning the President was on the phone. 

"Jim," he said, "nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be 
a newspaperman to read the record of your prediction and the out- 
come. It was the most uncanny prediction in the history of the coun- 
try. I thought it was too optimistic, but I am pleased on your account 
that you called the result so accurately*" 

"Why don't you speak for yourself, Boss?" I could not help but 
cut in. 

His laugh rang over the phone, 

"I'm going to go to South America on the i<Sth or lyth," he said* 
"I want you to come down to Washington as soon as you can," 

"Well, Fll corne down for a day or so and clean up some loose ends 
and get away on a vacation by the nth. I am taking Ambrose O'Con- 
nell and Eddie Roddan with me to Ireland," 

At the Cabinet meeting, November 6, the President mentioned his 
prediction which was 360 electoral votes for himself and 171 for Lan- 
don. He then mentioned my prediction and expressed his thanks to me 
for what I had done and said he was pleased with the way the cam- 
paign was handled. He said everything had worked out fine* Members 
of the Cabinet congratulated me. 

Second campaign prophet with honor 67 

The White House announced that the President had already re- 
ceived about 12,000 congratulatory telegrams. I received nearly as 
many. One of them is still among my treasured possessions. It reads: 

Uvalde, Texas. 





*m jrtjcH HAS been written, some of it true, and much more has been 
\/| spoken, most of it untrue, about my break with Franklin D, 
JL Y JL Roosevelt. Actually there was no sharp, clean fracture of 
friendship, but rather a slow, almost imperceptible drifting apart on 
political principles. I am certain neither of us knew how far we had 
drifted apart until the gap yawned unbridgeable between us. 

Looking back through the years, I find it hard to put the finger 
of memory on the beginning of the drift, so gradual was the process. 
Almost before I knew it, I was no longer called to the White House 
for morning bedside conferences. My phone no longer brought the 
familiar voice in mellifluous tones. Months dragged between White 
House luncheon conferences* Soon I found I was no longer being con- 
sulted on appointments, even in my own state. Then, too, I found I 
was as much in the dark about the President's political plans as the 
Chairman of the Republican National Committee, White House con- 
fidence on politics and policies went to a small band of zealots, who 
mocked at party loyalty and knew no devotion except unswerving 
obedience to their leader* 

At first this did not disturb me. What few people realize is that re- 
lationship between Roosevelt and me had been basically political and 
seldom social Strange as it may seem, the President never took me into 
the bosom of the family, although everyone agreed I was more re- 
sponsible than any other single man for his being in the White House, 
Never was I invited to spend the night in the historic mansion. Only 
twice did I ever make a cruise on the presidential yacht. Both cruises 
were political. Never was I invited to join informal White House gath- 
erings. My appearances there were for official social functions or for 
informal dinners followed by exploration of political and patronage 
problems, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Franklin finds it hard to 
relax with people who &ren*t his social equals*" I took this remark to 
explain my being out of the infield* 


Drifting apart 69 

In my probing of the past, it must be remembered that I came to 
Washington almost unknown outside of New York State. I entered 
the Cabinet a little bewildered by the pace of events about me. Wood- 
row Wilson said, "Every man who takes office in Washington either 
grows or swells." There have been those who said I was one who grew. 
I sincerely hope I was one of that number. Deep within me I know I 
learned much about men and events. 

The first ripple across the placid pond of our relations came and 
went, almost unnoticed, in the 1936 campaign. On October 14, 1 met 
the President when he arrived in Chicago, where he was given a tre- 
mendous reception from throngs in the street and at the Stadium where 
he delivered a militant campaign address, I came in for a share of the 
ovation, as campaign leader. On occasions when I joined the President 
on rear platform appearances, taking care to be deep in the back- 
ground, I was invariably greeted by shouts of "Hello, Jim," or "Hi, 
Jim." I was singled out because even the most enthusiastic in the crowds 
hesitated at crying, "Hello, Frank," or "Hi, Frank." 

The day after the Chicago speech Marvin H. Mclntyre came to 
see me in my room aboard the Presidential Special, somewhat ill at 
ease, to tell me that "they thought it best" that thereafter I should not 
appear on the platform with the President because of the Tammany 
situation. I was indignant, knowing my presence could not have been 
resented by anyone except those disturbed by the widespread friend- 
ship I had gained. At that time there was no situation in Tammany. 
If there had been one, I could not have been involved in it. I knew the 
President did not want me on the platform, but I could only guess why. 
I was certain that my temporary banishment was the result of presi- 
dential direction, because I ate with him several times on the trip and 
he never remarked on my absence. 

The taste of ashes was not long in my mouth, however, because 
when the President came to the Biltmore Hotel in New York City, on 
October 31, to address committee workers, his reference to me was 
most generous. 

A few weeks later I learned the pendulum of presidential favor 
again swung against me when Basil O'Connor, Roosevelt's former law 
partner, reported the President thought that I was nursing presidential 

yo Jim Farley's story 

aspirations for 1940. This simply was not true. The campaign was then 
almost four years away, and there were more deserving men in the 
party than myself. Yet, I have often wondered whether this uneasy 
suspicion colored my subsequent relations with Roosevelt. 

Jealousy may be too strong a word to describe reluctance to praise 
those who rendered him invaluable services or to elevate the deserv- 
ing. He was fond of confuting critics by saying they could not see 
the forest for the trees; which, in turn, gave rise to the observation 
that he did not like to see the trees grow too tall around him. Many, 
many times Vice President Garner told me that whenever he praised 
me to the President, Roosevelt would look at the ceiling, at the floor, 
or out of the window, or he would busy himself with papers on his 
desk. Garner said that the President, on such occasions, never returned 
the Vice President's gaze or never echoed the latter's friendly refer- 
ence. I also have remarked on this curious hesitancy of FDR's, which 
made it appear that praise of others embarrassed him. 

An instance of his reluctance to praise is in my files. Late in Janu- 
ary of 1937, Charley Michelson came to me saying I might as well 
know, since I would probably find it out anyway, that I was going 
to be given a testimonial dinner by the Democratic National Com- 
mittee in the Mayflower Hotel on February 15. He said he would like 
to have a letter from the President thanking me for my services to re- 
produce for the program. "Dead in the room," I said, to emphasize 
the secrecy I wished him to observe, "I haven't received such a letter 
since 1930." Charley growled that knowing Roosevelt, he wasn't 
surprised to hear it; but he promised to correct this oversight by go- 
ing to the White House to demand a predated letter of gratitude. This 
turned up a few days later, and Charley brought it in with a wry smile, 
It read: 

November 4, 1936* 

You were right so right that I thought you were more of an, optimist 
than a prophet, I find I am the one who needs to have his long-range specta- 
cles adjusted. But in this instance, Jim, I don't mind being wrong at all 

Very sincerely yours, 

Drifting apart 71 

There was no mention of my services even after a special request. 
However, as Charley acidly observed, FDR had admitted he was 
wrong for the first time since he entered the White House. Yet in his 
remarks at the dinner a few nights later, the President was most gen- 
erous in saying: 

"History has recorded, and will continue to record, a great many 
interesting facts about Jim. In due time history will talk, talk out loud 
about his younger days of public service to his town on the Hudson 
River, and his county, and his state. History will talk about his or- 
ganizing of campaigns in state and nation. It will speak of his fine serv- 
ice as a member of the Cabinet of the United States as administrator 
of an important department of the Federal government. 

"It may even add his name to the distinguished list of the 'Major 
Prophets.' Some of us old people remember 1896. Even as the name 
of William Jennings Bryan stood for, even as the name of the great 
Commoner sometimes suggests, the arithmetic of 16 to i, even so per- 
haps the name of Jim Farley will suggest the more modern arithmetic 
of 46 to 2. 

"But when history is written, after all of us have passed from the 
scene, there will be something more important than the mere chronicle 
of success in Public Office. In the book of history there are going to 
be other things written. Loyalty will be written there that loyalty 
to friends that results in loyalty from friends. 

"Honor and decency will be written there the honor and decency 
that have done much to raise the standards of public service in the 
American nation. Good temper will be writ there the kind of good 
temper that is based on a sense of perspective, a sense of humor, and 
a sense of forgiveness." 

During the dinner, the President, Vice President Garner, and I chat- 
ted between courses. One exchange involved Paul V. McNutt, former 
Governor of Indiana, and his impending appointment as United States 
High Commissioner to the Philippines. 

"I'm not so sure," the President mused, "because McNutt is inclined 
to be dictatorial in his attitude and he might not be the right fellow 
to send out there. Maybe he ought to go on the Maritime Commission." 

"I don't know him very well," Garner put in, "but I know he is a 

72 Jim Farley's story 

candidate for the Presidency in 1940 and it might not be a bad idea 
to send him out there." 

The President smiled thoughtfully. 

"Do you think the Philippines will be far enough? " I asked. 

"Yes, yes," he laughed. 

Somewhere around the salad course, I asked him how his legislative 
program was shaping up. "Famously," he answered, adding that he 
hoped to send Congress away in June with everything cleaned up, 

"And next year," he went on with the air of imparting a great se- 
cret, "why, they'll have nothing to do up on the Hill but campaign 
for reelection." He became suddenly solemn. "You know, Jim, it's a 
great comfort to me to know that there is no campaign lying in wait 
for me at the end of this four years. Yes sir, nothing but a nice, long 
rest at Hyde Park." 

Yet, in the months to come, he was to find fault with a long list of 
suspected and actual aspirants to his succession. They were either too 
old or too young; too ambitious or too unknown; too conservative or 
too radical, or in too poor health or too lacking in personality. Basil 
O'Connor had revealed the President as cataloguing me in the ambi- 
tious class. In many cases, displeasure was rooted in the Supreme Court 
reorganization plan; I am not sure it was not so in my case. Although 
I supported him to the hilt in his drive for Court reform^ I could not 
and did not go along with him on the no less disastrous and ill-fated at- 
tempt to purge the Democratic party of those who had opposed his 
will While he approved my course, even to certifying my statement 
that as party chairman I would not participate in the purge, I believe 
that deep down inside, he never forgave me for putting party welfare 
above the personal- allegiance he considerfcd his due. 

On February 4, 1937, the day before he sent what came to be known 
as the "Court Packing Plan" to the Senate, I saw the President in his 
bedroom at 9; 15 AM. Not a word did he drop about the program dur- 
ing the conference devoted to consideration of a number of appoint- 
ments. I was aware that something was in the making, but was not in 
on the framing conferences with Attorney General Gummings, Judge 
S^in Rosenman of New York, and others. Tuesday night, February 2, 
he had given his annual dinner to the Supreme Court* All but two of 

Drifting apart 73 

the "Nine Old Men" eighty-year-old Louis D. Brandeis and sixty- 
four-year-old Harlan Stone broke bread with him. No doubt Roose- 
velt hugely enjoyed every minute of the dinner, knowing the surprise 
he had in store for his guests, 

I, like the members of the Court, first learned the details of the plan 
from the newspapers. I was in New York City and did not attend the 
Cabinet meeting at which he outlined his plan. I did not return to 
Washington until February 1 1. Before my return, I had heard of the 
Capitol Hill mutterings against the plan and the manner of its submis- 
sion. In the morning I discussed the program with Homer Cummings, 
with reference to the attitude of Democratic Senators. I twitted Homer 
about Senator Glass's sizzler; "The country is infinitely in greater need 
of an Attorney General than of additional judges of the Supreme 
Court, or judicial wet-nurses for six of the present members of the 
Court." He took it good-naturedly. At noon I lunched with the Presi- 
dent, who was in the best of humor. 

''Boss/' I asked him, "why didn't you advise the Senators in advance 
that you were sending the Court bill to them?" 

"Jim, I just couldn't," he answered earnestly. "I didn't want to have 
it get out prematurely to the press. More than once when IVe had 
groups of Senators and Congressmen down here, reporters have gath- 
ered a detailed account of what went on within 48 hours. I didn't want 
it to happen again." 

"Well," I yielded, "I suppose it's all right, but I wouldn't let it hap- 
pen again. You ought to be more careful, because you know how 
they like to be consulted, and justly so." 

"True, true," he nodded, "I'll watch out for it in the future. This is 
very important to me; it's something that affects the heart of my pro- 
gram. I'll keep them here all year to pass it, if necessary." 

"If you don't get it through this session, I think it will be far more 
difficult to pass it in an election year." 

"You're right, Jim, I must pass it at this session. I'll need help. I 
want you to help. I'm going to have Senators and Congressmen down 
in groups and explain what this means. We must bring the Court in 
step with the New Deal." 

"Are you entirely satisfied with the wisdom of your course? " I asked 

74 Jim Farley's story 

pointedly. "Certainly/ 1 was his unhesitating answer. "Certainly." 
"You can count on me then, Buss. I will keep in contact with those 
who are supporting you on the Hill, and do my best to bring the 
others around.'* 

"First off/' continued the President, "we must hold up judicial ap- 
pointments in states where the delegation is not going along. We must 
make them promptly where they are with us. Where there is a divi- 
sion, we must give posts to those supporting us. Second, this must ap- 
ply to other appointments as well as judicial appointments. Fll keep in 
close contact with the leaders." 

During the next few weeks I was busy seeing Senators and Congress- 
men, urging support of the program* I found no serious opposition to 
three proposals advanced in the message* These would have granted 
the Chief Justice power to make assignments of lower judges, on a 
temporary basis, from one court to another when dockets became con- 
gested; would have created a new officer, a proctor, who would watch 
for congestion and recommend relieving transfers; and would have 
granted challenges of constitutionality direct access to the Supreme 
Court. The issue was drawn in the following words in his message: "I 
therefore earnestly recommend the appointment of additional judges 
in all Federal courts, without exception, where there are incumbent 
judges of retirement age who do not choose to retire or resign." This 
would have empowered him to appoint not more than fifty new judges 
to duplicate men of seventy years who had had at least ten years on 
the bench. The crucial point in the appointments was that it would 
have permitted him to increase the Supreme Court, in the event those 
of retirement age would not leave, by six justices. As the opposition put 
it: he would pack the Court with six New Dealers to give him a ma- 
jority of two over the confirmed conservative Court bloc which had 
consistently opposed him* 

The battle lines developed slowly. On the Democratic side Senators 
Wheeler of Montana, Clark of Missouri, and Burke of Nebraska came 
out against the plan early. Senator Johnson, California's veteran Re- 
publican, who had enjoyed Roosevelt support, was among the first to 
protest on the spare Republican side of the Senate chamber* Majority 
ItoWwcm of Artoas, Venerable Senator Harrison of Mis- 

Drifting apart 75 

sissippi, and suave Senator Byrnes of South Carolina, a skillful cloak- 
room operator, took up cudgels for the program. Early in the game 
it was apparent that some thirty Senators, holding the balance of 
power, were lying low to see how the wind would blow from home. 

The Republican strategy, which was perfected by the wily, leonine 
Borah, was masterful: the only way to beat the program was to let 
the Democrats fight the issue out among themselves. He was aware 
that opposition to the plan in the Democratic ranks was strong and that 
even the party's leadership had grave doubts of its wisdom. Borah 
knew that if the Republicans, reduced to a corporal's guard in Con- 
gress by the 1936 landslide, were to make a party issue of the Court 
plan, the Democrats would unite and steam-roller the program through 
the Senate and House. He had difficulty in persuading less astute col- 
leagues from trying to steal the issue from the Democratic opposition. 
In this event Roosevelt would have been triumphant on what would 
certainly have become a party-line vote. As it was, the battle lines 
were almost evenly drawn on issue rather than by party. The Roose- 
velt forces strove mightily to make the plan a matter of party loyalty. 

At the Washington Democratic Victory Dinner, Roosevelt publicly 
avowed his intention to retire at the end of his second term, which he 
had confided to me not long before. In one of his best orations, de- 
livered to the nation, more than to the 1,500 diners who had paid $100 
a plate to attend the function, he said: 

"A few days ago a distinguished member of Congress came to see 
me. ... I said to him, 'John, I want to tell you something that is very 
personal to me something that you have a right to hear from my own 
lips. I have a great ambition in life. . * . John, my ambition relates to 
January 20, 1941!'" 

He paused dramatically. There was not a sound in the room. Every- 
one leaned forward to listen. He was speaking in studied earnestness; 
but he later acknowledged to rne he knew he had his audience in the 
palm of his hand and was enjoying himself immensely. 

"I could just feel what horrid thoughts my friend was thinking. So 
in order to relieve his anxiety, I went on to say, 'My great ambition 
on January 20, 1941, is to turn over this desk to my successor, who- 
ever he may be, with the assurance that I am at the same time turning 

76 Jim Farley's story 

over to him as President, a nation intact. I want to get the nation as 
far along the road of progress as I can. I do not want to leave it to 
my successor in the condition in which Buchanan left it to Lincoln." 
I was never able to identify "John." It was not John Nance Garner 
or John Bankhead. The President referred to "John" on other occa- 
sions, when he wanted to emphasize his position on some measure pend- 
ing in Congress. Evidently "John" was a convenient character he 
created as a composite of various Congressional leaders. 

Roosevelt's words had a familiar ring. Later I found their substance 
was contained in an interview secured by Arthur Krock of the New 
York Times. Roosevelt added "John" in making the interview his 

Roosevelt did not directly mention the Court plan. But he did say 
"you know who" vetoed the Agricultural Adjustment Act and "you 
know who" vetoed the Democratic administration's efforts to raise 
wages, reduce hours, abolish child labor, and eliminate unfair trade 
practices. The address won wide approval and heartened his supporters 
in the Court battle. 

His oratorical guns were directly trained on the Supreme Court in 
his tenth "fireside" chat the next week. He pulled no punches in a direct 
denunciation of the Court's personnel, saying: 

"Our difficulty with the Court today rises not from the Court as an 
institution but from the human beings within it. But we cannot yield 
our Constitutional destiny to the personal judgment of a few men 
who, being fearful of the future, would deny us the necessary means 
of dealing with the present." 

He sought to dignify the "Court packing" taunt of the opposition 
by asserting that the charge he wished to place "spineless puppets" on 
the bench was ridiculous. He continued: 

"But if by that phrase the charge is made that I would appoint and 
the Senate would confirm justices worthy to sit beside present mem- 
bers of the Court who understand . . . modern conditions that I 
will appoint justices who will not undertake to override the judgment 
of Congress on legislative policy; . . . then I say that I and with me 
the vast majority of the American people favor doing just that thing 




Cs BEFORE the Court bill reached the Senate floor and even be- 
fore any committee hearings were held in either branch of Con- 
gress, the issue touched off oratorical fireworks in the Senate 
and House. The cry of dictatorship was raised. The tumult and up- 
roar in Congress was nothing to the sound and fury in the press. Up 
and down the land the issue was being debated. Before he left for a 
Warm Springs, Georgia, vacation the President said he was surprised 
that the opposition was far less thunderous than he anticipated. I do 
not know how much of this was whistling in the dark, because I found 
the opposition was making more than enough noise for me, especially 
the vocal Democratic opposition. 

As party chairman I recognized at once that the introduction of the 
judicial program gave the President's scattered opponents a common 
ground to mobilize on. The Republicans had been routed by his over- 
whelming defeat of Landon. Other opposition had been scattered. 
Now they had an opportunity to reorganize and they were making 
the most of it, which was certainly good politics. However, the Presi- 
dent was undismayed, although he knew that the issue marked 'a turn- 
ing point in his administration. He was confident of victory, while I 
was tormented with doubts. Reform of the Court had crossed his path 
with bad luck for four years like an ill-omened black cat, but it was 
close to his heart. He was fully aware of the bearing this legislation 
would have on the course of his administration. 

The President entered the fight in an excellent frame of mind. He 
indicated that he would seek to woo the opposition with flattery and 
soft words; that he had no intention of blustering or browbeating. 
Before he left for Warm Springs, he told me he felt all right, except 
that he was a bit tired. He expected to come back "rarin' to go." Of 
course, he was always happier when he was in a fight. 

By phone from Warm Springs a few days later, he told me he was 


7 8 Jim Farley's story 

feeling great; that he was ready and eager for the fray. I reported the 
Senate was divided into almost equal thirds one group in favor of 
the bill, another opposed, and a crop of fence sitters. He said we would 
have to get the fence sitters back into the barnyard. He said he was 
sending Tommy Corcoran, RFC counsel, and Joseph Keenan, of the 
Department of Justice, around to "turn the heat on" the opposition. 
He expressed himself certain that he had the situation under control, 
refusing to discuss the various alternative and compromise proposals 
floating around the Hill. Keenan and Corcoran set to work scolding 
and beating Senators in amazing fashion. 

While he was still in Warm Springs, I went to Texas to dedicate a 
number of post offices. I was satisfied that things were coming along 
all right. By the end of the month almost everything that could be said 
for and against the program had been said in Congress. Both sides set- 
tled down to working on the undecided, undetermined, and unsettled 
one-third. The old game of jockeying for position, tempting with 
favor, and appealing to principle began. 

The political tug of war was going on behind the scenes, while the 
public show was going on before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
The administration marshalled an impressive parade of deans of law 
schools, who were in turn heckled by the opposition. Homer Cum- 
mings and Assistant Attorney General Robert H. Jackson ably pre- 
sented the administration's case. For the opposition, Senator Wheeler 
exploded a bombshell by producing a letter from venerable Chief 
Justice Hughes which assailed the argument that the Court was over- 
burdened. This was a staggering blow. From a sickbed came that 
doughty old gamecock, Senator Glass, to scream such epithets as 
"frightful . . . iniquitous . . . hateful . . . repugnant . , . utterly desti- 
tute of moral sensibility" against the plan. 

As usual, there was never a dull moment along the Potomac. 

On his return to Washington, the President closeted himself with 
Vice President Garner, Speaker Bankhead, Majority Leader Robinson, 
and House Leader Rayburn to be brought up to date on the Court 
fight. On April i, I had lunch at the White House with the President 
and Senator Hugo Black of Alabama. Our conference was largely de- 
voted to the progress of the Court fight. 

The Court fight 79 

"All we have to do," the President said happily, "is to let the flood 
of mail settle on Congress. You just see. All I have to do is deliver a bet- 
ter speech, and the opposition will be beating a path to the White 
House door." 

The President said that the proponents of the plan unquestionably 
were having the better of the argument; that the program would soon 
be brought to the Senate floor where it would be passed. In general, 
I agreed, but noted that it might take longer than he expected. Black 
cautioned that the opposition was most determined and would exercise 
every means of delay, knowing that their only hope lay in avoiding 
a vote. 

"We'll smoke 'em out," the President said. "If delay helps them, we 
must press for an early vote." 

Black had expressed displeasure over the appointments of Rear Ad- 
miral Emory S. Land and Rear Admiral H. A. Wiley to the Mari- 
time Commission. Black was irked because the appointments were an- 
nounced without his having been advised, when he had understood 
that he was to be consulted. The President soothed him and soon had 
him smiling and promising to go along with the appointees, whose 
capacities he had questioned. 

On April 12, 1937, I talked with Roosevelt by phone from New 
York City after the Supreme Court validated the Wagner Act by a 
five to four decision. He was jubilant. 

"We did it," he chortled. "I am very, very pleased. You ought to see 
Homer Cummings, who's sitting with me now. He looks like the 
Cheshire cat that swallowed the canary. It's wonderful. 

"I am convinced more than ever that the proposals for reform of the 
Court are warranted. It's the same four justices who have dissented all 
along that are against me this time McReynolds, Butler, Sutherland, 
and Van Devanter." 

I called up Senator Wagner to congratulate him and found him 
also riding the clouds. He addressed me as "Mr. President" by way of 
recognizing the fact that my name was high on a Gallup poll list of 
possibilities for the 1940 Democratic presidential nomination the day 
before. He, like the President, was surprised by the Court's decision as 
it had been expected to go the other way. I quoted Finley Peter Dunne, 

80 Jim Farley's story 

"No matter whether th' constitution follows th' flag or not, th' Su- 
preme Court follows th' iliction returns." I suggested maybe the Court 
was doing a little electioneering against the packing plan in the decision. 

The decision did serve to support arguments for the need of a 
change. None of us had any doubt of passage of the program. Thomas 
G. Corcoran, who was shuttling through the halls of Congress on be- 
half of the program, dropped by a few times to discuss his lobbying. 
I was polite, but hardly warm because I was never certain whether 
the chubby White House confidant was working for the President or 
for himself; I was quite certain he was not too concerned about the 
Democratic party. Also, I had reports that he and Keenan were doing 
more harm than good among Democrats by their tactics. 

So swimmingly were things moving along that when I went to the 
White House for a bedside conference on April 19, the Court pro- 
gram was barely mentioned. 

"Jim, weVe got an unpleasant job ahead of us," he began. "I've 
told you that I would keep my Cabinet as it stands except Harry 
Woodring. At the time I appointed him, after George Dern's death, 
it was understood that the appointment would be temporary. I am 
going to send for Harry Woodring. You send for Louis Johnson. 
Maybe it would be a good idea for you to talk to Harry, too. Be sure 
to tell them both it will not be a permanent appointment." 

"General Malin Craig was in to see me about Harry; the Army 
thinks very highly of him," I said. "Louis was in, too, to ask me about 
getting into the Cabinet. I think Harry is doing a good job and de- 
serves an appointment to prove his fitness for the job. Incidentally, I 
may be wanting to get out, if I make a satisfactory business connec- 
tion, which will bring up consideration of William Howes, my first 
assistant, as my successor." 

"Pd hate to see you go, Jim, but if you must, you must; and as long 
as you remain as party Chairman, it will be all right," Roosevelt said. 
"I suppose I'd have to give some consideration to Frank Walker and 
Ed Flynn." 

"Walker would make a splendid Cabinet officer, so would Flynn; 
1*11 talk further with you when the time comes when and if, that is." 

"Fine. You know I'd like to get rid of Dan Roper; he talks too much 

The Court fight 81 

and doesn't get anywhere. I'd like to send him to the Philippines, but 
I guess it would be better to send Woodring. You know there might 
be some objection to Dan because he has been accused of being a 
Klansman. While I don't believe it for a minute, the feeling exists that 
he has such leanings; probably he was so labeled because he didn't come 
out for Al Smith in 1928. Maybe we could find him a diplomatic post." 

Late that April, I went on one of my stamp selling tours, as I called 
them, into New England and the Middle West. Before I left I saw 
Woodring and Johnson as I promised. On reporting to the White 
House, I found the President had put off tackling Woodring. I was 
not surprised, as he invariably avoided a showdown, if he could. Sub- 
sequently he reappointed Harry. Whether rightly or wrongly, Wood- 
ring and General Craig attributed the decision to my support. 

It was in May that the handwriting on the wall, which had been 
regarded as favorable to the Court plan, was translated into the bitter 
truth of opposition by Senate leaders. Defeat was certain unless enough 
Democratic Senators could be persuaded to support the President. 
There was still hope that a compromise might be effected. Senator 
Burke seized upon the argument for young blood on the bench to pro- 
pose a Constitutional amendment which would allow Justices to retire 
on full pay at the age of seventy and require them to do so at the age 
of seventy-five. This was originally suggested by Representative Hat- 
ton Summers of Texas. Senator Norris of Nebraska would have limited 
the Court's power to declare laws unconstitutional. Senator Ashurst of 
Arizona would have amended the Constitution to give the Federal 
government power to achieve New Deal aims. Senator Wheeler would 
have been satisfied with an amendment permitting Congress to over- 
ride a Court "veto" after the next general election following an ad- 
verse Court decision. Senator Borah proposed to rewrite the Four- 
teenth Amendment so as to redefine its "due process" clause to make 
it apply only to the Federal government, leaving the states unlimited 
power to conduct social and economic experiments. 

Congressional leaders said the situation was bad. Tommy Corcoran 
came by with the corners of his mouth turned down. I told him that 
as soon as the President returned from his fishing cruise in the Gulf 
of Mexico, we should sit down with him to find out just what course 

82 Jim Farley's story 

to pursue; if we had enough votes, we should go through with the con- 
test to the finish; if not, we should determine what we might gain in 
a compromise. Congressional leaders agreed that the President should 
he advised before his return. James Roosevelt, son and secretary, went 
to meet his father at Fort Worth. I went to meet him at Indianapolis. 

I found Roosevelt undaunted. Thoroughly rested by his vacation, 
he was thrilling to the scent of battle in the air. He would not consider 
compromise. When I told him polls were showing the Senate so evenly 
divided that Garner might have to cast the deciding vote, he snapped, 
"Let him do it." I counseled him to consider the possibility that the 
party would be split beyond repair, which provoked the surprising 
declaration "and good riddance, too." At one point he looked out 
of the window of his special car and said, almost to himself, "This 
comes from telling them I would not be a candidate again." He said 
with all the finality at his command that he would not withdraw as 
much as an inch and he would not compromise. 

In Washington, the President was greeted at Union Station by a few 
members of his official and private families. Three years before, he 
returned from a southern fishing trip to throw down the gauntlet to 
another Congress in revolt, to find thirty Senators and two hundred 
Congressmen on hand with a band to meet him. That revolt vanished 
in the warmth of that welcome, but not a member of the second rebel- 
ling Congress was on hand that May morning. 

The Court packing plan was defeated by a one-two punch. The 
paralyzing blow was delivered in the resignation of Justice Van De- 
vanter, staunch member of the "Old Guard" bloc. The knockout 
blow was the death a few weeks later of Joe Robinson, who kept the 
plan afloat in troubled Congressional currents by the sheer force of a 
remarkable personality. Robinson had unflinching support from 
Byrnes and Harrison. 

It was on May 18, 1937, that Van Devanter sent his resignation to 
the White House. Despite denials, the move was widely interpreted as 
an adroit conservative maneuver calculated to weaken the President's 
wavering Senate ranks, by a voluntary breaking up of the bloc which 
had long- troubled the President, 

The Court fight 83 

If other "Old Guard" resignations would follow, I felt the Presi- 
dent would accept a compromise, since he would be able to make 
several liberal appointments. I felt hopeful the Senate and the Presi- 
dent might be able to save face. If he could appoint a number of liberal 
justices, he might be willing to hold the packing down to two new 
justices as proposed by Senator Hatch. The Senate, I thought, would 
be inclined to go along, particularly if one of the new Court posts 
would go to Robinson in recognition of his services. I was encouraged 
in these thoughts by the friendly tone of the President's letter accept- 
ing the resignation. He wrote: 

May 18, 1937. 

I received your letter of this morning telling me that you are retiring 
from regular active service on the bench June 2, 1937. 

May I as one who has had the privilege of knowing you for many years, 
extend to you every good wish. 

Before you leave Washington for the summer, it would give me great 
personal pleasure if you would come in to see me. 

Very sincerely yours, 

When I saw the letter on the office news ticker, I called 'the Presi- 
dent. I found him unperturbed about the future. 

"I wanted you to know I thought you wrote a most interesting and 
amusing letter," I said, "particularly in the line extending the invita- 
tion to him to pay a call before he leaves." 

"If I receive the resignation of a certain other judge on the bench, 
you can be sure he won't get a similar invitation," he said meaningly. 

"It wouldn't happen to be a certain southern gentleman answering 
to the name of McReynolds?" I asked. 

"Still the prophet, Jim. That's exactly the one I had in mind. Pd love 
to write him a letter, even though he wouldn't go where I'd like to 
invite him to go not yet." 

He laughed uproariously. 

In the midst of the Court struggle, Vice President Garner packed 
up and went home to Uvalde, Texas. He had told me he was going 

84 Jim Farley's story 

to take a vacation, so I thought nothing of it until newspaper stories 
attributed Garner's absence to a rift with the President, precipitated 
by the Court fight. At a White House luncheon on June 18, 1937, I 
found the President smoldering over the absence of the presiding of- 
ficer of the Senate. 

"Why in hell did Jack have to leave at this time for?" he fumed 
through a cloud of cigarette smoke. "I'm going to write and tell him 
about all these stories and suggest he come back. This is a fine time 
to jump ship. What's eating him?" 

"Well, Boss, I'm sure Jack isn't peeved at all. I do know he was 
peeved over a friend in the HOLC, a fellow named Dick Tullis, who 
had not been reinstated because of activity against Congressman Mav- 
erick in the last campaign." 

"Send for Maverick and try to work it out. He's got to come back." 

"O.K., but I think you'll find Jack just went on a vacation and 
dropped off to see his son, Tulley." 

"He ought to be back. I'll have Mac call him." He called Mclntyre 
in from the outer office and gave him orders. 

"Let him spend a couple of weeks in Uvalde," I suggested. 

"All right, if you insist; a couple of weeks more won't make any 
difference," he grumbled. 

I don't think the President ever forgave Garner. I believe this marked 
the beginning of coolness on his part. In the past he had accepted criti- 
cism from Garner good-naturedly, evidently aware Jack would finally 
support him even against his own judgment. Thereafter things were 
never the same between them; so I judged from my seat at the Cabinet 
table. I wrote Garner, enclosing several pertinent news clippings and 
suggesting he return. On July i, 1937, he wrote the following interest- 
ing reply from Uvalde: 


Your favor of the 28th, with enclosures, is just Deceived. 

When I see articles such as Mr. Stokes's story, especially those saying that 
there is a break between the "Boss" and myself, it peeves me, and yet I 
know that you and the "Boss" and the others who are acquainted with the 
facts know that there isn't any truth in it. 

(.International News Phot 

June 27, 1937 Although the Supreme Court fight defeat rankled in the Presi- 
dent's breast, he and I had a hearty laugh at the Jefferson Island Club only a few 
days after the bill was lost (see pages 94-96). 

_ (Acme Photo,) 

September 5, 1938 Purge prescribed. FDR went to Crisfield, Maryland, in an 
attempt to purge Senator Mil lard Tydings, a candidate for renomination. This 
picture shows, left to right, President Roosevelt, Representative David Lewis 
(Tydings's opponent), and Representative T. Alan Goldsborough of Maryland 
(see page 144). 

The Court fight 85 

I have never said a word touching the Administration that the "Boss," 
you and the others could not have been present and heard. Frankly, Jim, I 
have almost gotten to love Roosevelt from a personal standpoint. 

I think he has been over-reached in some things or else he has arrived at 
conclusions which to my mind can't be sustained from a standpoint of 
statesmanship or patriotism. I refer particularly to the sit-down strikes 
and mass lawlessness, which, to me, is intolerable and will lead to great diffi- 
culty, if not destruction. 

I am not only unalterably opposed to mass violation of the law, but any 
kind of tolerance of violation of the law, regardless of class. That is why I 
have for twenty-odd years cried out against the combined Wall Street 
violation of the spirit of the law as well as a large percentage of actual vio- 
lation without receiving punishment. Moreover, as you well know, I have 
believed for the last two years that we should have been materially reducing 
our expenditures; that we could not go on indefinitely borrowing money to 
run the Government. 

The "Boss" apparently makes up his mind that he is going to follow a 
certain line of economy, but within three to six months somebody has 
talked him into a different policy or, by asking so many exceptions to the 
policy, the exceptions become the rule. 

I know you have heard me say in the Cabinet that I thought Henry Wal- 
lace's agricultural policy was fundamentally unsound, but I realize that he 
and the President's advisers, who have had actual experience in the premises, 
have observed the practical difficulties more than I have, and I have gone 
along with that policy whole-heartedly; and, I am egotistical enough to say 
that I have been helpful in it. 

Now, my feelings about the above propositions have been freely ex- 
pressed to you and the "Boss." I have not expressed them as freely to others 
since it would appear that I was too much of a critic. Jim, I have got to be 
honest, honest with myself, with you, with the "Boss," and others with 
whom I have to deal, therefore I can only speak frankly. 

Along about last March you will recall that I announced that I was 
going to take my vacation all at once, beginning about the first of June. 
Everyone thought we would be thru about then for the program was 
short. Later on the "Chief" decided he would enlarge the program very 
materially. I didn't see any reason why I should change my vacation plans, 
in view of Mrs. Garner and the grandchild's arrangements, because of the 
enlarged program. 

I have taken the time to encumber you with this long letter so that you 
may have the whole picture and know how I feel. I know the "Boss" knows 
it, and it made me Unhappy wheii Marvin Mclntyre told me that he was 

86 Jim Farley's story 

annoyed by me leaving. If he had told me, at any cost I would have made 
other arrangements. I plead for his unlimited confidence since he has mine 
to the fullest extent. I am subject to his call at any moment. 

Mrs. Garner joins me in love and best wishes for you and the family. 

Sincerely your friend, 

I wrote him the President thought it would be best for him to return 
as soon as possible. Garner replied July 8, saying if the President 
needed him he would head for the capital, "as soon as I conveniently 
can, if I have the strength to travel, and I surely have it now, as I am 
feeling fine and getting hard as a brick and black as a Yaqui Indian." 
I sent the "Boss" copies of the letters. 

Returning to the White House conference, the President and I 
talked of the Court fight. He still refused to regard the situation as 
desperate, which it was. He could have had a two-justice compromise 
easily in April, but this concession was most doubtful in early June. 
He would not talk of yielding ground. I urged again the appointment 
of Robinson to the Van Devanter vacancy, holding that the nomina- 
tion would be an excellent thing with which to end the session, as it 
would leave a good taste in everyone's mouth. Homer Cummings came 
in and added his voice to mine. The President said he would make the 
appointment. I asked him to keep the name of Owen D. Young in the 
back of his mind for other vacancies which might occur. The next 
morning I called Robinson and relayed the President's promise after 
greeting him as "Mr. Justice." I told him to sit steady in the boat and 
not to rock it, and all would be well. He was most grateful for the 

It was Robinson who finally persuaded the President to take a realis- 
tic view of the Court battle. In a two hour night conference, he con- 
vinced the President that compromise was the only course. Unfortu- 
nately the grains of sand in his hourglass were running low and he was 
not to have time to direct the final phase of the lost cause. He might 
have saved much. 

I left to attend the annual Elks' convention in Denver, arriving in 
that city Tuesday morning, June 13, 1937. Wednesday morning at 
6:30 A.M. I was awakened by the Associated Press reporting that Rob- 

The Court fight 87 

inson was dead. I had known of Robinson's heart ailment for a long, 
long time. In the midst of the Court fight, he took a two weeks' rest; 
he had been observing a strict diet. There is no question that the strain 
of the Court battle, together with the heat of a Washington summer, 
was responsible for his sudden collapse. I had great admiration for the 
hot-tempered statesman, because he was a man of courage and loyalty. 
While he did not agree with some of the policies advanced by the 
President, he fought ably for their passage, giving freely of his time 
and efforts. At the time of the news of his passing, I recognized that 
the opposition would seek for early adjournment in the hope that the 
Court plan would be abandoned. I expected the President would elect 
to carry on the battle. 

Friday morning I attended the services for Senator Robinson in the 
Senate chamber. As we gathered in the President's room, there was 
muttering about the "Dear Alben" letter Roosevelt had addressed to 
Senator Barkley denouncing rumors that the Court bill was to be 
abandoned. Friends of Senator Harrison felt the Chief Executive had 
employed the letter to indicate he favored Barkley for the leadership. 
When the President entered he asked me to drop by the White House 
for a chat at 4: 1 5 P.M. This I did. I was on time but had to wait for 
fifteen or twenty minutes while the President talked with Senator 
Byrnes, who was managing Harrison's campaign for the leadership as 
Guffey was managing Barkley's. 

The "Dear Alben" letter said, "Since the untimely death of our 
majority leader I had hoped, with you, that at least until his funeral 
services had been held, a decent respect for his memory would have 
deferred discussion of political and legislative matters." It wound up 
with a demand for a fight to the finish. Many Congressional faces 
flushed with anger when the letter was made public because it was 
felt that the President had taken up politics before the Robinson fu- 
neral, while accusing others of not observing a decent mourning period. 
The President decided against attending the funeral. I considered this 
decision a grave mistake. 

The finish fight which the President called Barkley to wage was 
on the Robinson measure which specified one new Justice for every 
Court member over the age of seventy-five but limited the President 

88 Jim Farley's story 

to one appointment a year. When debate opened, I came in for a 
heavy verbal barrage for an off-the-record remark I made on leaving 
the President. A reporter put me on the spot by asking how the Court 
fight stood. I dodged by countering with an off-the-record question 
as to how such Senators as McCarran of Nevada and O'Mahoney of 
Wyoming could afford not to vote for the bill if they ever wanted any- 
thing from the administration. My remark lost no news value in the 
reporting. This was one of only two times in seven and one-half years 
in Washington when a statement I put off the record was published. 

McCarran rose from a sickbed to make a dramatic appearance be- 
fore the Senate. He announced that he was speaking against his doc- 
tor's orders and sealing his own political death. 

"I think this cause is worthy of any man's life," he cried, most ef- 
fectively. He added, "When Farley said that if I asked for something 
for my humble state there would be a different viewpoint, he wrote 
my death warrant and he knew it, and I may today be delivering my 
valedictory by reason of a mandate of Mr. Farley." 

It wasn't that bad, as time has proved; but it was bad enough for me. 
Worse for me, in fact, than for either McCarran or O'Mahoney, be- 
cause I knew I had made it impossible for either of them to vote for 
the President. It taught me a powerful lesson in holding my tongue, 

"Boss, I want to be very direct," I said after exchanging greetings, 
when I was ushered to Roosevelt's desk that afternoon by Mclntyre. 

"Well, shoot, Jim," he invited. 

"Why did you write that letter to Barkley?" 

"A letter was the easiest way to get over what I wanted." 

"But criticism has come from th6 fact that it was addressed to Bark- 

"Simple enough, Jim. I couldn't have sent it to Garner who's away, 
or to Key Pittman who was in the Chair; so, inasmuch as Barkley is 
acting leader, I properly sent it t<? him." 

"But the impression has got around . . ." 

"Yes, I know," he interrupted, "that I'm supporting Barkley against 
Harrison. Well, it just isn't so." 

"I'm glad to hear it," I said. "I'm going to keep my haads off. It's 

The Court fight 89 

a matter for the Senate the Democratic members of the Senate. I'm 
going to tell Barkley and Harrison that." 

"Good," he approved, "Pm going to see Pat Harrison at five o'clock 
and tell him Pm not against him. Of course, if he's elected, Pat will 
have to spend all his time at the job, because it will be necessary that 
he familiarize himself with all legislation. He will have to be on the 
floor all the time and, if he does that, it will be difficult for him to 
carry on his work as Chairman of the Finance Committee. It might 
mean he will have to resign that post and, if he does, it woul'd go to 
Senator King of Utah, who, as you know, is a bitter foe of the admin- 
istration. King is just impossible to deal with." 

"Let's leave that until we have to face it," I said. 

"Joe's death was a heavy loss," the President said. "I appreciated 
his splendid services. He was wonderful in the Court fight. I was 
going to put him on the Supreme Court for it. By the way, are you 
going to Little Rock for the funeral?" 


"Jim, I wish you'd be my eyes and ears on the trip. Visit around 
among the Senators and Congressmen on the train to and from Arkan- 
sas and try to get a line on what they're thinking. Report to me as 
soon as you return." 

"Of course. Pll see Garner at the funeral." 

"Oh, yes. Ask him about his return here. I am satisfied that Jack 
is coming back because Pve talked with him, but be sure and visit 
with him as soon as you can in Little Rock." 

The funeral train arrived at Little Rock at 7:30 A.M. I went to 
Mass with Senator Henry F. Ashurst and Congressman John O'Con- 
nor of New York. Funeral services were held at the First Methodist 
Church, where I was pleased to see the Most Reverend John B. Morris, 
Catholic Bishop of Little Rock, give a splendid lesson in tolerance by 
entering a pew to pay homage to the dead. 

During the ride down and back I had conferences with all the Sena- 
tors and Congressmen of both parties. I was amazed at the amount 
of bitterness which had been engendered by the long struggle over the 
Court issue. I found men of stature growing quite petty in their re- 

90 Jim Farley's story 

marks about one another. It was evident that it would be difficult to 
heal the split made by the fight, since the salt of unkind words had 
been rubbed into the party's wound. I was satisfied that only the sooth- 
ing passage of time and the most delicate nursing would bring the 
factions into a united Democratic front again. Both sides were claim- 
ing victory in the contest. There was no doubt, however, that the 
best the President could hope for was a compromise. 



ON THE RETURN trip Garner boarded the funeral train. He told 
me he was all set to clear up any erroneous impressions caused 
by his absence. I had visits with Harrison and Barkley, the con- 
tenders for the leadership, and their respective campaign managers, 
Byrnes and Guffey. I told them, without equivocation, each in the 
presence of the other, that I would not turn a hand in their contest, 
and that the President' had assured me he also would not. Harrison 
said the President had so advised him Friday afternoon. I said they 
were both friends of mine and that the selection of either would be 
entirely satisfactory to me. I added I intended to keep my friendship 
with the winner and the loser in the race; and both declared, as far 
as they were concerned, that would be so. 

Byrnes told me I had probably done more to make Robinson's last 
days happy than anyone else. He said he and Harrison were with Rob- 
inson the Saturday morning I made the call advising him of the im- 
pending Court appointment. Robinson repeated my conversation, say- 
ing he could not keep the wonderful news from such good friends. 
The news buoyed Robinson up in the fight, Byrnes added, because 
the Majority Leader was confident that when I told him it would work 
out satisfactorily, he could go to sleep on it. 

Robinson was vexed, according to Byrnes, over the President's si- 
lence on the appointment. I explained that the President probably felt 
that it was desirable for him to be in a position to say he had never 
discussed the appointment with Robinson when the time came to 
make it. I said I was sure the President wanted to be able to say Rob- 
inson had not fought the good fight on account of any commitment 
made him about judicial hopes, even though he was aware Robinson ex- 
pected elevation to the Court; so did Mrs. Robinson and so did their 


We returned to Washington at 1 1:45 P.M. Monday. I went directly 


92 Jim Farley's story 

to my apartment in the Mayflower. Late the next night the special 
line from the White House jangled. 

"Hello," I answered. 

"Hello," said the voice at the other end. 

"Who is it?" I asked somewhat impatiently. 

"It's me," the voice responded, none too clearly. 

"Who in the hell is W?" I shouted. 

"The President." 

"Oh," said I. "What's keeping you up?" 

"Jim, I want you to call Ed Kelly of Chicago right now. It's neces- 
sary to get him to put the pressure on Senator Dieterich to get him to 
vote for Barkley." 

"I can't do it," I said. "I said I wouldn't turn a hand either way, 
for Barkley or Harrison." 

"Dieterich's weakening; all we need is a phone call" 

"I can't help it, I can't call Kelly." 

"You mean you won't," the President said in hurt accents. 

"Boss, I just can't," I protested. "I gave my word my word to 
Harrison, Barkley, Byrnes, and Guff ey on the train. You yourself said 
it was right for me to take no sides." 

"Very well," he said curtly. "I'll get Harry Hopkins to do it." 

He hung up before I could say, "Good night." I tossed restlessly 
for a time afterward in distress at the thought he was going back on 
his promise to Harrison, and in annoyance that he should seek to 
have me go back on mine. It was the only time he ever called me at 
night on the White House wire. Jesse Jones used to use it occasionally 
and now and then other Cabinet officers would reach me through 
the White House switchboard. Several days later Senator Dieterich 
confided that Kelly had called and persuaded him to switch to Barkley. 

The next morning the President called me over to his office around 
eleven o'clock. He was in excellent spirits as I reported on my ob- 
servations on the trip. 

"Jim, I've made up my mind that after the leadership fight, I'll let 
the situation ride along, if possible, to see what happens. If nothing 
happens on the part of the leaders, I'll get on the radio. I'll appeal to 

Court aftermath 93 

the people. I want the Court bill, slum clearance, wage and hour legis- 
lation, and a farm bill passed at this session." 

"I believe, generally speaking, the man in the street is for your pro- 
gram," I said, "but those who opposed you in the last election and the 
party conservatives have grabbed this opportunity of the Court fight 
to oppose the entire legislative schedule." 

He thanked me for my report on what he called my "look-see" and 
told me to come in tomorrow to go over the whole situation. He did 
not mention the phone call of the night before. 

I saw the President almost immediately after Barkley was elected 
leader by a vote of 38 to 37. He was pleased although he acknowledged 
surprise at the closeness of the vote. 

"I'll invite Barkley and Harrison in to lunch," he exclaimed. "It's 
a splendid idea. You stay, too, Jim. Then we can all get together and 
work everything out." 

"If you don't mind," I put in, "I'd rather not. I think it would be 
better if I were not with you. They should eat alone with you." 

"Maybe so," he let me off. "Jim, what I have in mind is this. Senator 
Pope was in the other day and indicated it might be well to try to pass 
some of the important legislation now pending, and let the Court pro- 
gram ride along a while. Then, in October, Congress would come back 
to take it up. What do you think of it?" 

"Sounds all right, except I think it might be a terrible mistake on 
your part to abandon the fight." 

"But it wouldn't be abandoning the fight; it would be just a post- 

This was the first indication I had from him of surrender. 

"I want to get wage and hour, reorganization, slum clearance, farm 
and judicial legislation through at this session. Then there won't be 
very much to do at the next session and we can take things easier," 

"I think you ought to carry on the fight," I said. "I think it's just 
a question of getting the story before the voters." 

"Yes, I know," he agreed. "I'll have to make a radio address. I know 
full well slum clearance is necessary, that crop control is vital to keep 
farm prices from getting oiit of hand, that wage and hour legislation 

94 Jim Farley's story 

is keenly desired by all labor, and that the government needs reorgan- 
ization to increase efficiency. I must tell the people that. 

"And I want to tell them that some Senators and Congressmen and 
the Vice President, too, are more or less antiquated in their thinking. 
We can't proceed, as they would have us, on the theory that we 
should let well enough alone." 

I pointed out that little had been done by Congress, due to the Court 
fight, except passage of the Neutrality Bill and the Farm Repeal Act. 
We briefly discussed the anti-Supreme Court packing statement of 
Governor Lehman of New York. The President screwed up his face 
to show as expressively as he could by words his annoyance at Leh- 
man's butting into a situation which was of deep concern to the Presi- 
dent. I said I thought the Lehman letter was out of order and he agreed 
most emphatically. 

In forty-eight hours the Court bill was dead. The Senate referred it 
back to the Judiciary Committee. In the final hours, it was widely rec- 
ognized that Presidential defeat was inevitable. On July 23, 1 had lunch 
with the President and found him fuming against Garner. 

"He didn't even attempt to bargain with Wheeler," he said in ex- 
asperation. "He just accepted Wheeler's terms. If Garner had put up 
any kind of a fight, the thing could have been worked out diff erently." 

"Weren't you a party to the agreement?" I asked. 

"I most certainly was not," he snapped. "I told Garner to make 
the best compromise he could. It's apparent Garner made no effort 
to do so. He just capitulated to the opposition." 

"Boss," I said, "I must take issue with you on Jack, who is my friend 
and yours. Without knowing what happened, I'm sure that Jack did 
all he could, and more than anyone else might have done. I'm certain 
you'll find he tried to salvage what he could of the program, but it just 
wasn't in the cards for him to win. He didn't have a winning hand." 

Later the same day I talked to Garner and learned that he had most 
carefully canvassed the Senate and found that the opposition had suf- 
ficient strength, for the first time in the long battle, to kill the program. 
Several Senators, who were prepared to go along in order to help Rob- 
inson win a seat on the Supreme Court bench, said they were now 
throwing their lot with the opposition. Aware that the President was 

Court aftermath 95 

beaten, Garner went to Senator Wheeler and found the latter fully 
cognizant of the fact that he held the winning hand. Garner asked 
what Wheeler would settle for and was forced to capitulate when the 
Senator called for unconditional surrender. 

"What about the rest of your program?" I asked Roosevelt at our 

"I'll put it up to the leaders whether they want to clean it up in a 
few weeks or adjourn and come back the first of October or there- 
abouts. Then they could clean it up before Christmas." 

The President expressed himself pleased at the way he had handled 
his press conference that morning. He said he had showed the news- 
papermen he could take defeat, that he had preserved good humor 

By the time luncheon ended he was in a happy frame of mind. As 
a matter of fact, after he had shut the Court fight surrender out of his 
mind, he became quite gay. I did not gather, however, that he was 
prepared to let bygones be bygones. I knew he was disappointed, 
and even incensed at some Democrats. His attitude was that he had 
been doublecrossed and let down by men who should have rallied 
loyally to his support, I was certain he would not dismiss it all as part 
of the game, but would carry the scars of his defeat for some time. 

For this reason I was hopeful that he could get the rest of his pro- 
gram through, and without further clashes with a Congress that had 
tasted executive blood. I hoped that next year would bring a short and 
uneventful session of Congress. A campaign year, I felt, would be an 
excellent time to bury party grudges. Nothing erases past differences 
so much as working for a common cause. Not being one to harbor ill- 
will, I was confident time would heal the wounds of the violent judi- 
ciary fray. 

The Supreme Court fight, when the harsh accents of heated debate 
died away, lived on in the President's memory. Seared into his political 
soul was defeat, the worst he had suffered since election night in 1920 
when James M. Cox and he were soundly trounced by Warren G. 
Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Presidential pride was sorely scorched. 
For weeks and months afterward I found him fuming against the 
members of his own party he blamed for his bucket of bitterness. 

96 Jim Farley's story 

Outwardly he was as gay and debonair as ever; inwardly he was seeth- 
ing, I knew, because to me he made no secret of his annoyance with 
those who had crossed the party line. 

Immediately after the defeat he began summoning Senators and 
Congressmen down to the White House to discuss various matters. 
Almost invariably he would drop some suggestion that those who had 
opposed him had better be on guard. It was not so much what he said 
as what he left unsaid. What he left unsaid lost nothing in being re- 
layed to Capitol Hill. There they were searched for hidden meanings. 
Various members of Congress came to me seeking enlightenment 
which I was unable to give. 

The President enjoyed his little game thoroughly. On August 3, 
1937, 1 found him chortling over the uneasiness he was creating. Dur- 
ing luncheon he recounted in detail conversations he had hjd with 
various members of Congress, acting out his own part and the puzzle- 
ment of those he had called to his office. He was an excellent actor and 
at his best when he was taking off himself. He had me laughing through- 
out the meal. 

"I've got them on the run, Jim," he cried. "They go out of here 
talking to themselves, memorizing my lines to repeat up on the Hill 
I'd like to see the faces sag over my mumbo- jumbo. They have no 
idea what's going to happen and are beginning to worry. They'll be 
sorry, yet." 

"Boss, you're a hard man," I said half in jest and half in earnest. "I 
hope you never get angry at me." 

The Democratic opponents of the Court plan were not the only 
ones who didn't know what was going to happen. I did not know my- 
self. The thought of a serious purge never crossed my mind. Shadows 
of concern flitted across my consciousness in the first months after 
the defeat, but these were quickly forgotten in the problem of the de- 
pression of 1937 and the controversy over the appointment of Sena- 
tor Hugo Lafayette Black to the Supreme Court. 

The straw in the wind was presidential treatment of opposing Sena- 
tors on his trip to the Northwest that fall He went through Nebraska 
without inviting Senator Burke to join his party. In Wyoming, Joe 
Q'Mahqney wa? not iiivited, but came anyway as a member of a citi- 

Court aftermath 97 

zens' welcoming committee. When Roosevelt spied Joe, he stuck out 
his hand and cheerily greeted, "Hello, Joe! Glad to see you." That 
was at Cheyenne. At Caspar, where O'Mahoney left the train, the 
President, who had not mentioned O'Mahoney in rear platform ap- 
pearances in the state, made a pointed reference to politicians who 
paid lip service to the New Deal while frustrating its objectives. In 
Montana, Wheeler, arch-foe of the President, was uninvited, while 
New Deal Senator Murray smiled welcome at the Gardiner stop. To 
illuminate the lesson for recalcitrant Democrats, the President was all 
cordiality to Senator Borah, Idaho Republican stalwart, at Boise. 

Before he left on the western trip, which was to give him a "look- 
see" across the continent, a visit to his grandchildren at Seattle, and an 
excuse to be out of Washington when Justice Black returned from 
Europe, I called the President at his Hyde Park home on September 22, 
1937. 1 said I had nothing in particular on my mind except to wish him 
a good trip. I kidded him about taking my regards to the Senators 
who had been out of step with his program. 

"They'll know I was there, Jim," he laughed. "Let 'em begin eating 
their votes now." 

At the time there was more public interest in the disclosure that 
Black had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan than there was in 
the Court fight. This startling revelation in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette 
came a few weeks after the Chief Executive had tossed the Alabama 
Senator's name into the Senate hopper for the Van Devanter vacancy 
on the high Court. The appointment was as much of a surprise to me 
as it was to all. I was not consulted nor was I advised before the ap- 
pointment was read in the Senate chamber. I had a conference with 
the President the day before and discussed the Court appointment, but 
he gave no hint that he had made his decision. I was plugging for 
Judge Sam G. Bratton of New Mexico or Owen D. Young. 

"I am aware that many of the Senators would like to see me appoint 
Bratton," he told me dryly. I gathered that this killed the chances of 
Bratton, a former Senator. It was also evident he was still feuding 
with the Senate. 

Since the appointment of his old boss, former Secretary of the Navy 
Josephus Daniels, as Ambassador to Mexico in 1933, he had never failed 

98 Jim Farley's story 

to notify me of an appointment. Black was the first exception. 
Others came later. White House executive clerk Rudolph For- 
ster had instructions to call me on every appointment that crossed 
his desk on its way to the Hill. The Black appointment was given 
special routing, going without Forster's knowledge. 

Later the President told me he had wanted to make the appoint- 
ment a surprise. He said .he had started with a list of more than fifty 
names and one by one cut his list down to three defenders of his New 
Deal: Solicitor General Stanley F. Reed, Senator Sherman Minton of 
Indiana, and Black. Finally, he said, he chose Black because the latter 
had served the New Deal longer and more zealously; so he scrawled 
out the nomination with his pen: "I nominate Hugo L. Black of Ala- 
bama to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court." He concluded 
the recital with the gleeful statement, "And they'll have to take him, 
too." I gathered his reference was to the anti-Court Democrats, who 
would be under pressure of Senatorial courtesy. 

During Senate debate on Black's nomination, there was mention of 
the Klan connection. The issue was not treated seriously until the 
press disclosure that Black had donned white robes to take the Klan 
oath in Birmingham in 1923, a year before he defeated anti-Klan Sen- 
ator Oscar W. Underwood. At the time of the disclosure, Klan spokes- 
men said Black's name was no longer on the rolls. 

Black was in London when the scandal broke. The Republican press 
made much of the disclosure. Black preserved a silence until his return, 
when he made a radio speech from the home of a friend in which he 
acknowledged former membership in the Klan but denied the un- 
solicited life membership. The radio speech was without precedent. 
For an Associate Justice to broadcast on any controversial subject 
was unusual enough, but for a Justice to defend himself, as Black did, 
was sensational. He was on a tough spot, as tough a spot as any man in 
public life has ever faced, perhaps. 

Tommy Corcoran called me after the radio admission and disclaimer 
to ask me what I thought of it. I replied quite honestly that I felt that 
Black had done the best he could under trying circumstances; how- 
ever, I felt that Black should have denounced the Klan in the speech, 
an organization of that character having no place in American life, 

Court aftermath 99 

Corcoran said the Black speech was prepared by Claude E. Hamil- 
ton, Jr., an RFC attorney, who owed his post to the Justice when the 
latter was in the Senate. 

Corcoran said he saw the first draft of the speech and thought it was 
terrible. He called Black, who said he had not wanted to join the Klan 
in the first place but did so because he felt under obligation to friends. 
Corcoran said he made every effort to get Black to denounce the Klan 
but the Justice would not do so because he felt he would be throwing - 
down friends in Alabama who had helped him through the years. The 
original draft, according to Corcoran, stated that Black had joined 
the nightshirt organization, as had many others, for political purposes. 

Corcoran and I agreed that Black was I still think he is a fine 
fellow and would make a good member of the Court. We were sorry 
that he had made so poor an explanation of his klan connection. I 
told Corcoran I had taken the position at a Cabinet meeting that the 
Klan issue was not dead, as the President suggested, but was a live one 
and would arise from time to time as cases involving the issue of tol- 
erance came before the Court. This has been so, but I am glad to say 
that Black's position in such cases has been above suspicion. 



I CALLED THE President at Hyde Park on October 7, 1937, to wel- 
come him back from his western trip and to tell him I was heading 
out west and would not see him until I returned at the end of 
the month. He insisted I come down for the Cabinet meeting on the 
eighth. I said I would so arrange my plans. 

"What d'you think of Hugo's speech of the other night?" he asked. 

"He did the best he could under the circumstances, but I think he 
should have hit the Klan." 

"It was a grand job," he countered. "It did the trick; you just wait 
and see." He switched the subject. "I want to talk about conditions in 
this country at the Cabinet meeting. That's why I want you to be sure 
to come down." 

I went to Washington on the night train and secured an appoint- 
ment with Roosevelt for a few minutes before lunch. 

"I am more convinced than ever I was right about the Court/* he 
told me. "Everywhere crowds were bigger than they were in the last 
campaign. I'm sure the people are for my program. Maybe they don't 
understand all the program, although I think they know more about 
it than some people seem to think. Anyhow, I know they're for the 
Court program because I'm for it, if for no other reason." 

He thrust out his chin challengingly. I acknowledged there was 
much in what he said. 

"Fve talked to all kinds of people businessmen, farmers, workers, 
and others. I think I know what they want and they want my pro- 
gram. Jim, I'm going to call a special session." 

"If you do, you ought to make it as late as you can and still allow 
enough time for putting through the legislation you want," I suggested. 

"I think I'll make it November 10 or maybe November 15. 1 don't 
want the program going over to the next session where it will get all 

Depression again 101 

tangled up with the controversial items like the Court, the Black ap- 
pointment, and the antilynching bill. At the special session I can hold 
them to the program." 

At the Cabinet meeting that afternoon, October 8, 1937, Roosevelt 
leaped down the throat of Secretary of Commerce Roper during a dis- 
cussion of the business recession which was disturbing the Adminis- 
tration, making no effort to disguise his irritability. 

"Dan," he said sharply at one point, "you have just got to stop issu- 
ing these Hooverish statements all the time." 

Roper, unabashed by the rebuke, tried to argue to justify his state- 
ments. I am sure Dan failed to understand that the President wanted 
him to keep silent in the critical period. 

"I know that the present situation is the result of a concerted effort 
by big business and concentrated wealth to drive the market down 
just to create a situation unfavorable to me," the President said. "I 
have been around the country and know conditions are good. Crops 
are good. Farmers are getting good prices. Industry is busy and is bound 
to keep busy if crops and prices are good. I am sure the situation is 
just temporary. Everything will work out all right if we just sit tight 
and keep quiet." He looked meaningly at Roper, who was blissfully 
unaware of the point. "The whole situation is being manufactured in 
Wall Street." 

The next day I talked to the President by phone. I remarked that 
his suggestion for silence appeared to have been lost on Dan. 

"Jim," he said, "there's entirely too much talking going on. There's 
entirely too many press conferences and too many statements being 

"I haven't had a press conference since last June," I put in. 

"I'm going to put the lid on," he continued. "When I was in the 
Navy, Daniels had two press conferences a day and they got pretty 
awful. There's too much talking and it's causing a lot of unfavorable 
comment. There's just too much being said all around." 

On my return from the West I went to New York City for the final 
days of the mayoralty campaign in which Fiorello La Guardia was 
pitted for reelection against Judge Jeremiah Mahoney. On October 
27, the President called to talk about the campaign. 

Jim Farley's story 

"If La Guardia really gets tough," I said jokingly, "I'll pin his ears 

"Watch out," he cautioned, "he might bite you." 

"He's too short to reach above my ankles," I retorted. 

Three days before the election Roosevelt let it be known that he 
had telephoned his best wishes to La Guardia. This was a heavy blow 
to a campaign which had only a slight chance to begin with. Election 
night we were snowed under by the American Labor Party vote of 
672,823 votes which brought La Guardia's total to 1,344,016 as against 
889,591 for Mahoney. Around headquarters there were no post- 
mortems; we were licked soundly licked. There was a laugh, how- 
ever, when someone around headquarters remarked, "Well, time is a 
great healer." 

Two days later the President asked me to meet him in his town 
house on Sixty-ninth Street in New York City and accompany him 
back to Washington. When I arrived there I chatted with Harry Hop- 
kins, the Federal Emergency Relief Administrator, Miss Marguerite 
Le Hand, the President's personal secretary, and Miss Grace Tally of 
the White House staff. La Guardia came in. I was congratulating him 
on his reelection when the President's mother came up and headed for 
the smiling Mayor. 

"Congratulations," she said. "I knew your victory was assured long 
before election. Nevertheless, I am much pleased that you have won." 

Miss Le Hand turned to me and winked. There was no doubt where 
Mrs. Roosevelt had heard that La Guardia would win. The trip to the 
town house was regarded as having been made expressly to congratu- 
late the victorious La Guardia. 

And so it developed when the Mayor and I went in to the President 
a few minutes later. In the congratulations, I came in for a bit of kid- 
ding. I took the opportunity to state that I considered it unfair of the 
ALP to oppose Democratic candidates for the State Assembly and the 
Democratic slate of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, which 
opposition had strengthened Republicans. La Guardia said he had 
wanted to go to the Convention and we Democrats would not send 
him, so he had no other choice. I said it would have been a travesty 
for the Democrats to send him. 

Depression again 103 

The next afternoon I attended one of the most interesting Cabinet 
sessions during my years in office, one on which I dictated voluminous 
notes. The meeting got under way slowly in the long Cabinet room 
with tall windows looking out on the rose garden on the right of the ' 
south portico of the White House. We were seated at our regular 
places when the President entered, sprinkling cheery greetings. He 
took his place at the head of the table with Under Secretary of State 
Welles, acting for Hull, on his right and Secretary of the Treasury 
Morgenthau on his left. The rest of us were seated alternately on 
either side of the table in the order of the creation of the Cabinet 
positions. In accordance with established procedure, the President 
called upon each department head in order. Welles briefly discussed 
the situations in the Far East and in Spain. It was not until the Presi- 
dent reached the last member of his official family, Secretary of Labor 
Perkins, that the meeting really got under way. 

When the President questioned, "Well, Frances, anything on your 
mind?" she pulled out a memorandum, prepared by Isadore Lubin, 
Labor Department statistician, which reported a decline in employ- 
ment in October of about two per cent where, ordinarily, she said, the 
month shows an increase of two per cent. 

"This is the first real sign of a falling off in employment, which might 
be serious and even dangerous in view of conditions," she said. "The 
report shows the falling off is greatest in heavy industries such as steel 
plants, rolling mills, foundries, and automobile plants. In connection 
with the automobile industry, I have no direct information as to the 
result of the automobile show, but I do not believe sales following the 
show were up to expectations, because they are laying off workers in 
so many auto plants." 

Others chimed in with gloomy reports of the business picture. The 
President listened until these were ended and then called for sug- 
gestions. Welles passed, evidently holding that the domestic situation 
was outside the purview of the State Department. 

"I think you ought to issue a statement comparing business condi- 
tions of today with what they were in the early days of your ad- 
ministration," said Morgenthau, who was next in line. "Then you could 
talk frankly about the general tax situation. You know business is 

104 J^ m are y s Stor 7 

moaning that the capital gains and undistributed profits taxes are re- 
tarding recovery. But I think it would be heartening for you to show 
how far better off we are today than we were four years ago." 

"Oh, for God's sake, Henry, do you want me to read the record 
again?" the President asked with no attempt to conceal his irritation. 

Morgenthau reddened. The President glowered. The silence became 
as awkward as it was cold and heavy. Finally I spoke up: 

"Boss, I think Henry is right." Henry looked surprised and pleased; 
the President merely looked surprised. "I think the situation would 
be helped materially if you did say something to alleviate the fears 
which no one can deny exist in the business world today. If I may speak 
frankly, my contacts with people around the country lead me to be- 
lieve that business people feel you have taken a stubborn attitude. I 
quote exactly when I use the word 'stubborn.' The impression has been 
created, rightly or wrongly, that you have no interest in business. I 
may not be making myself clear, but there is a feeling you have 
no sympathy or confidence in business big or little . . . Now, 
even . . ." 

"That's not true . . ." he began. 

"Let me finish," I begged. "I am not saying it's true. I had intended 
to finish by saying that in spite of all your endeavors to clear the situa- 
tion, the fact is that the impression still remains you are against busi- 
ness and this impression must be cleared away. I think Henry is right, 
you should make a quieting statement." 

"There are altogether too many statements being issued now and too 
much talking," the President said. "The Department of Agriculture 
has issued a statement saying that the national income will be less 
than it was a year ago and the Department of Commerce has issued 
a statement saying it will be greater than it was a year ago." 

"Since my father's time the Department of Agriculture has been 
getting out such a ^statement," Wallace said, "It was thoroughly 
checked before release and we feel it is correct in its figures." 

"I am satisfied the Agriculture estimate is correct," said Perkins. 
"We have checked its figures and are in agreement with the estimate." 

The President glared at Roper with a what-have-you-to-say-for- 
yourself look. When the Secretary of Commerce launched into rosy 

Depression again 105 

predictions, the President cut him short. It was evident to everyone at 
the table but Dan that the Boss was most annoyed at him. 

"There are a number of things which must be done," the President 
began, leaving Roper floundering in some circumlocution about cycles. 
"There's housing and railroads and utilities." 

"I have reason to believe the utilities would spend a lot of money if 
they knew where they are heading," I broke in. 

"That's what they say," he went on. "But take a typical example, 
Niagara-Hudson. The real trouble with them is they were and are 
over-capitalized for three times their real worth. And they want the 
government to extend consideration to them based upon the over- 
capitalization instead of sitting down and admitting their real worth 
and then trying to work out their problems in an honest manner. In 
other words, they want to charge the consumers for power based on 
a false capitalization. In the case of Niagara-Hudson, they sold their 
stock at $20 a share to the public and it is now down to $8 and seven- 
eighths a share. 

"Every time you do anything for them they want something else. 
I am ready to sit down and work it out, but you can never pin them 
down. I had Wendell Willkie of the Commonwealth and Southern in 
here for a talk, but I couldn't get anywhere with him; you can't get 
anywhere with any of them." 

Someone brought up the plight of the railroads. 

"All right," the President said, "Iet 5 s take the railroads. They want 
higher freight rates and higher passenger rates. Some months ago 
when the rates were reduced, over the opposition of the railroads, 
the result was increased volume of business. Only one railroad, the 
New York Central, admitted the decrease was justified by the returns." 

"Boss, I've talked to a number of railroad executives around the 
country and they are not sure whether a freight rate increase will 
solve their problem," I said. "They feel as soon as they get an increase, 
labor will demand additional consideration. Take the 70 car bill. The 
unions want freight trains limited to 70 cars which means more crews 
for them, whereas trains of i oo cars are more efficient from the stand- 
point of the operators." 

"I know, I know," he said. "I realize the situation is a bad one; many 

106 Jim Farley's story 

of the roads are in a bad financial condition, and some are in poor 
physical condition. A lot of this has been due to inefficient manage- 
ment, particularly in eastern roads, and failure to go along with the 


"Finally, there's housing. Speeding up of housing will go a long 
way toward adjusting the present business situation. An increase in 
construction will give considerable help to the industry itself, which 
has been in a bad way for a long time. Its stimulation will help, natu- 
rally enough, all industries engaged in supplying materials and also 
will help the transportation industry." 

Morgenthau and I did most of the talking for the Cabinet at first. 
Then Perkins and Secretary of War Woodring joined in. We had 
some help from Wallace and a little from Roper. More than once 
I stepped in to help Morgenthau. The President blamed the recession 
on Wall Street. 

"I get all kinds of criticism and complaints about the economic 
situation," he said, "but few people come in to see me with any con- 
crete suggestions as to how the situation can be alleviated. It's easy 
enough to criticize, but it's another thing to help. 

"I want all of you every one when offering criticisms to make 
suggestions which are constructive. I am fully conscious of the situa- 
tion which exists; I have been studying it for a long, long time. 

"And I know who's responsible for the situation. Business, particu- 
larly the banking industry, has ganged up on me. They are trying to use 
this recession to force me to let up on some of my program. They want 
to get back the control they had in the past, to get back what they 
feel is theirs. They want to increase the power oi wealth without gov- 
ernment restriction in the future. There is no doubt what they want, 
although they won't admit it and they are taking it out on the present 
situation to put over their own ends. 

"In my talks with businessmen and people generally, I have brought 
up the question of wages and hours and labor limitations. I am pro- 
ceeding on the theory that better conditions among working people 
are absolutely necessary. Legislation is vital because in some sections 
of the country wages are pitifully small. 

"I have found that businessmen ip. one section of the country are not 

Depression again 107 

concerned about conditions in another part of the country. In other 
words, they are concerned about their own particular business and 
they are not interested in anything else. They are a pretty selfish lot. 
I feel there is a bitter, selfish attitude on the part of all businessmen, 
big and little; for example, newspaper editors and publishers are con- 
cerned only with their own welfare. That situation makes it difficult 
to do the job right and to help all elements of our population. I am 
willing and determined to use every prerogative at my command to 
do the right things and to bring us along to a better way of life." 

At the conclusion of the meeting I remarked that it was one of the 
best we had ever had. The President agreed. The next day Morgen- 
thau called to express gratitude for the way I backed him up, saying 
he would never forget it, because he felt the President was annoyed 
at his persistency, and added that he would not have gone on had I 
not stepped in as I did and given him courage to go on. He was never 
more friendly in all the years I have known him thin he was that 
morning. Morgenthau said the discussion was certain to produce 
favorable results. 

On the day Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., and Ethel Du Pont were mar- 
ried in Wilmington, Steve Early told me, Morgenthau called during 
the height of the festivities and excitedly demanded that Roosevelt be 
put on the phone so that he could give the American government's posi- 
tion on the French franc. The President was relaxing at the reception 
in the Du Pont home when Henry called seeking approval of the posi- 
tion which was about to be announced. Steve found the Boss sipping 
champagne. When he relayed the Morgenthau message, the President 
frowned at the interruption and said, "Tell Henry I don't give a good 
damn what the government's position is on the French franc." Steve 
carried the message back to Henry word for word, because the White 
House staff was finding Henry's worries tiresome. 



AIUND THIS time Walter J. Cummings, Chicago banker and former 
treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, called by 
phone quite distressed because he had heard Senator Harry S. 
Truman of Missouri was about to make a speech attacking the receiver- 
ship of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. Cum- 
mings was disturbed because he was the receiver. He wanted me to call 
up Truman and ask him not to do so. I said I did not feel I had any 
right to call off the Senator but I would try to find out if Walter's 
information was correct. I did call the Senator and found that while 
he was going to speak he was not going to attack the railroad or its 

Truman was under the impression, and with some reason, that he 
was not being treated fairly by the administration, because of his con- 
nection with Boss Tom Pendergast of the Kansas City machine. On 
November 19, 1937, he came in to see me to ask if the Attorney Gen- 
eral would appoint a United States District Attorney in Missouri to 
succeed Maurice A. Milligan, who prosecuted Pendergast. Truman 
said he did not want to submit a name unless the appointment was to 
be made. I found both the President and Cummings cold toward any 
change in that office. 

The same day I saw the President. I had had an appointment hang- 
ing fire for a couple of days, but he was ill and I was put off. I went 
to the White House proper. I was ushered through the oval study 
above the Blue Room and into the President's bedroom. I was shocked 
by his appearance. His color was bad; his face was lined and he ap- 
peared to be worn out. His jaw was swollen as a result of a tooth in- 
fection. During the entire interview he kept an ice bag to his jaw to 
relieve pain. In addition to the infection, he told me he had an in- 
testinal disorder and a fever. His spirits were excellent. 

"I'll be all right, if I can get away," he said. "If the doctors let me 


New York governorship 109 

go, I'll head for Warm Springs. What I need is a bit of rest." "Why 
don't you take a fishing Cruise?" I suggested. "They seem to do you a 
world of good. If I were you I'd head for warm waters and let Con- 
gress wrestle along with the legislative program." 

There was no doubt in my mind that the President had suffered a 
great deal more than was indicated in the press. He told me that he 
had lost a great deal of sleep as a result of the infection an infection 
which made it necessary to delay the extraction of the tooth. The fever 
lingered on for weeks. And I learned there was worry over strain on 
Roosevelt's heart. 

The President's condition so concerned me that I had a long talk 
five days later with Admiral Gary T. Grayson, White House physician 
to President Wilson, about Roosevelt's health. He told me he was in 
daily touch with Jimmy Roosevelt on his father's condition. I told 
him that while I had a great deal of respect for White House physician 
Ross T. Mclntire, I thought it highly essential that some prominent 
physician be called in to go over the President thoroughly. Grayson said 
it was important not only to get a good doctor, but one who would not 
talk, recalling that when Wilson was ill outside doctors were called 
in for consultation and some of them talked. 

I gathered he was aware of the worry regarding the President's 
heart. I told him nothing I knew, however, and he told me nothing he 
knew. There was no immediate concern, I had been told, but Roose- 
velt's condition was such as to bear watching. Grayson said it might 
become serious. There had been many rumors in New York and else- 
where about the President's health. Most of these had no basis in 
fact whatsoever. 

At my conference with the President, we discussed various appoint- 
ments. At this time I was being mentioned prominently in polls and 
various articles in magazines and newspapers as a Presidential pos- 
sibility in 1940. While I was highly pleased to fall under such con- 
sideration, I did not take it seriously. The President had never men- 
tioned this although I was subjected to much good-natured kidding 
from others on the matter. 

a jkn, before you leave, I want to talk to you about the New York 
State situation," he said, taking the ice bag away from his ailing jaw. 

no Jini Farley's story 

"I've talked to Ed Flynn about it. He's very much hurt by the atti- 
tude and actions of the American Labor Party and is in a bad mood 
generally. I realize the situation is a difficult one, but one that needs 
straightening out needs it badly. Now, Jim, I want you to give 
some thought to the situation, particularly I want you to give some 
thought to running for governor." 

He put the ice bag back and studied me, 

"I'm not keen on living in Albany," I sidestepped. 

"I suppose Bess would not like it either? " he asked. 

"Fm of the impression she wouldn't." 

"I don't blame her for a minute. However, serious attention should 
be given to the New York situation. If you would take the nomination, 
you could get the support of the CIO and the AFL, as well as the 
American Labor party and undoubtedly La Guardia." 

'That last statement is somewhat amusing," I said. "I can see the 
Little Flower on the stump for me." 

"Seriously, Jim, I'm certain that La Guardia won't oppose you un- 
less Dewey should happen to be the nominee." 

"What about Bob Jackson?" I asked. 

"He isn't well enough known and I question whether he could build 
himself up enough to run by next year," he answered. "If you don't 
run, the only other person available would be Senator Wagner. And 
then, Jim, you could run for the Senate. At the same time you could 
keep any position in the business world, which would take care of 
your private financial situation." 

"Bess doesn't think much of Washington either," I volunteered. 

"You know, before I left Albany," he went on, ignoring my inter- 
ruption, "a bill was passed where an appropriation of some kind had 
been arranged for an additional contribution of $10,000 a year for the 
support of the Executive Mansion so that the Governor now receives 
$35,000 instead of $25,000 as I did. This would enable you to carry on 
the functions of the Mansion without having much of a deficit." 

"All right, granting that is so, it still would not take care of my per- 
sonal situation. There would be no chance of relieving the difficulties 
of the accumulating deficit I incur by service here, and there would be 
no chance of saving money for myself and my family. Frankly, I would 

New York governorship in 

love the place, but I do not see how in my present position I can give 
serious consideration to it." 

"Well, think it over," he urged. "Think them both over Gov- 
ernor and Senate." 

One other subject of general interest was considered in the conver- 
sation. The President expressed disappointment that Hull had not 
received the Nobel peace prize that was awarded to Lord Cecil. He 
said Hull did not want his name entered as a candidate again next year, 
but he had instructed Welles to do so anyway. He said, "You know, 
there's a cash prize of $40,000 that goes with the award." I said, "Cor- 
dell could use it." 

Three days later I repeated much of this conversation to Vice Presi- 
dent Garner at luncheon in his office at the Capitol. He smiled at the 
Presidential insistence that I run for Governor or Senator in New 
York, saying that it looked as though Roosevelt were trying to get 
me out of the way in 1 940. 

"Quite frankly, I don't think the boss looks on me as a qualified 
candidate," I said. "Not that I have any feeling in the matter." 

"Well, I do," Garner broke in. "I recently told a friend of mine that 
I have never known a man who had grown more in stature than your- 
self during all my years in Washington. I never knew you until 1933, 
but after having seen you in action at Cabinet meetings, I have acquired 
a high regard for you and know you are big enough to be President. 

"And, I want to tell you something in the strictest confidence. Well, 
I made a bet with Silliman Evans 100 to i that I could name the 
next President. He wrote out a check for $1,000 and I wrote one out 
for $10 and we turned them over to the Missus with the name I wrote. 
And not to be repeated to a living soul the name I wrote was yours." 

"Why didn't you speak for yourself, John?" I quipped. 

"I don't want the Presidency under any circumstances," he said. 
"Silliman was very anxious to find out the name I wrote, but I wouldn't 
tell him. He thought it was Wallace and offered to bet another $50 
that was the case, but I wouldn't bet. No, I don't want to take the job. 
I would hate to have to take over the reins of government. It's a tre- 
mendous responsibility. I hope to God the Boss keeps his health. I'm 
worried about him now." 

Jim Farley's story 

I told him there was nothing to worry about, nothing immediate. 
He said he was glad to hear it. I gathered he, too, had heard about 
the concern over the President's heart. 

The night before, I had run into Marvin Mclntyre in coming out 
of my apartment. Mac said the third term was out of the question. I 
said I considered Hull the logical candidate. "Don't be foolish, Jim," 
Mac said, "you are the outstanding candidate." 

Garner's suspicions that the President regarded me as a 1940 con- 
tender and wanted to sidetrack me to Albany were verified to my 
satisfaction by Basil O'Connor at a lunch in his home in New York 
City. "Doc," as the President's former law partner is known, told me 
Roosevelt had mentioned the prospect of my running for Governor of 
New York in 1938. "Doc" told him I was not interested. The Presi- 
dent acknowledged to "Doc" that I had said I was not "particularly 
interested." "Doc" said he could go farther and say I was not interested 
at all. At this, he said, the President looked at him and asked, "Is Jim 
anxious for 1940?" "Doc" said his answer was that he didn't know 
about that. 

Soon after that the President took a fishing cruise. When he re- 
turned, much rested, I called the White House to inquire after his 
health. He reported he was feeling fine; that the dentist and doctor had 
said it would no longer be necessary to scrape his jaw bone where 
the abscessed tooth had been, and the condition had improved greatly 
in the past thirty hours. 

I saw the President a few days later. He told me about the impend- 
ing appointment of Joseph P. Kennedy of the Securities and Exchange 
Commission as Ambassador to Britain. I asked him whether Joseph E, 
Davies, then Ambassador to Russia, would go to Berlin. He replied 
that Joe would be shifted to Brussels, that Berlin needed an experi- 
enced diplomat. Then he brought the conversation to New York State 

"Jim, I'm very much concerned about New York," he said. "The 
simple fact is that whether we like it or not, the American Labor Party 
holds the balance of power and our nominees must have their support 
in order to win at the polls. Ed Flynn is very much against the ALP, but 
we must deal with them. 

New York governorship 113 

"You and I are practical fellows, Jim, and know we must approach 
the situation in a practical manner, regardless of personal feelings. 
There are certain conditions to be worked out to meet the approval of 
the Labor party for our tickets. I list them as: Wagner for Senator and 
Farley for Governor, or Farley for Senator and Wagner for Gov- 
ernor/ 7 

"We have already talked this over before," I said. "My mind has 
not changed in the slightest. Either post would be a great honor, but I 
just can't consider them because of my personal problem." 

"Well, don't dismiss them entirely from your mind. I want to talk 
to you about this again. I understand your personal attitude. I have 
some other ideas on the ticket. What do you think of Wagner for 
Senator and Jackson for Governor, or Wagner for Governor and Jack- 
son for Senator, or Wagner for Senator and La Guardia for Governor, 
or La Guardia for Senator and Wagner for Governor?" 

"I just can't believe the Democrats would turn over the party to La 
Guardia," I said. "I think the party would rather lose than do this. 
Now, don't get me wrong, speaking from the national point of view, I 
don't care whether La Guardia runs as a Democrat we have a major- 
ity in the Senate anyway. As a Democrat, I'm heart and soul against it. 
La Guardia is an opportunist and would desert on a moment's notice if 
he thought it would be to his advantage." 

"Yes, La Guardia has a swelled head," he said slowly, "and it's my 
guess he has presidential aspirations. He's very friendly with the La 
Follettes; Bob La Follette is a nice fellow, able and honorable, but I 
never thought much of Phil" 

I told the President that Hull was of the impression that he (Roose- 
velt) did not consult him enough, that the Secretary had intimated as 
much to me, though not in so many words. I told him Hull had much 
Capitol Hill experience in tax problems and his advice in that field 
might be invaluable. 

"Why, I'm very fond of Hull," he disclaimed. "I see him at least 
twice a week. However, he's a free trader at heart and for that reason 
his views can't be accepted in their entirety." 

This brought up a general discussion of the Cabinet, which was ex- 
tremely intimate and frank. It was the first time the President had 

ii4 Jim Farley's story 

taken down his hair with me on my colleagues in his official family. 

"What do you think of Homer Cummings?" he asked. 

"I think Homer is all right," I said. "He has been extremely loyal 
and cooperated in every way. If he has any weakness, it is due to the 
fact that instead of advising you about what you should do, he is 
always trying to find out what you want to do. In other words, he's 
always trying to go along with your views. I think you might have 
a chat with him and try to impress on him that he must make his 
own decisions." 

I knew the President got this as a reference to the fact that many 
people blamed Cummings for the ill-fated Court plan. The full blame 
had been placed on Homer's doorstep when the truth was the Presi- 
dent only consulted him in preparation for the program. I understand 
Judge Samuel I. Rosenman was also in on the hatching. 

The President said nothing, but from his manner I gathered that 
Homer's days were numbered. I knew Cummings was anxious to leave 
the Cabinet and was disturbed by stories that Jackson was to succeed 
him. Jackson had accompanied the President on the recent southern 

"What about Dan Roper?" he asked. "I am thoroughly dissatisfied 
with Dan but don't know how I can get rid of him. Maybe I could 
give him a diplomatic post of some kind." 

"I think that if Dan did leave the Cabinet, he'd want to remain in 
Washington rather than take a diplomatic post, but he is so fond of 
honors he might accept anything in the diplomatic line," I said. 

"Well, we'll try," Roosevelt continued. "Do you think Claude 
Swanson will resign?" 

"If his condition gets any worse, I think it would be the proper 
thing to do," I said. "Up until six months ago he was clicking all right 
mentally, but it's pitiful to see him at Cabinet meetings now." 

"Yes," he agreed, "it's too bad. He was a grand old man. I'm afraid 
his number is up." 

"Speaking of the Cabinet, Louis Johnson is expecting to be named 
Secretary of War any day now," I said. 

"I wouldn't name Louis under any circumstaaces," he replied. "Pve 

New York governorship 115 

talked to Harry Woodring, who understands he will get a diplomatic 
post and that is entirely satisfactory to him." 

"I think Harry is doing a good job," I put in. "I think he worked 
hard to make good because of the criticism directed at him before you 
took him in." 

"Yes, he's done a much better job than Dern. What do you think of 

"I think McNutt has a lot of ability," I answered, "but he's ambi- 
tious and we can't be sure of him. I have told you many times before 
that he prevented you from getting the vote of Indiana in 1932." 

"I think Henry Morgenthau has tried to carry out my plans in 
every respect," Roosevelt said. "I couldn't put Joe Kennedy in his 
place, for example, because Joe would want to run the Treasury in his 
own way, contrary to my plans and views." 

We talked of Frances Perkins and I got the impression that he would 
be pleased to have her resign. I gathered he would appoint Edward 
McGrady in her place. Ed might not have wanted it, but it is rather 
difficult for any person to refuse the President and I don't think Ed 
would have in the end. Roosevelt changed his mind on Frances, and 
rightly so. She took many a blow for him and served him loyally and 
faithfully at all times. 

We did not talk of Ickes and Wallace at that time. I did mention later 
that Ickes's speeches were causing trouble because of their bitterness 
and that I thought he was casting an acquisitive eye on the Forestry 
Bureau in the Agriculture Department. 

A few days later politics was blasted from the President's mind when 
the U.S.S, Panay was sunk by Japanese aircraft on the Yangtze River. 
At the Cabinet meeting there was talk of the possibility of war. The 
President closeted himself with the army and navy high command. 
Hull reiterated his gloomy warnings of the danger existing in the 
Orient due to the aggressiveness of the Japanese. On first receiving 
news that the gunboat had been sunk, the President by memorandum 
directed Hull to make strong representations to Japan. Hull needed 
no urging, but swung into demands for apology, reparations, and guar- 
antees against repetition of the attack. All this was duly reported to 

n6 Jim Farley's story 

the Cabinet. The President kept his finger on the public pulse; when 
he found that the incident brought no demand for war, he sent the 
military back to their offices and the threat of war passed like a lacy 
cloud over the moon. 

Another incident brought the President abruptly back to politics. 
Late one night the House finally came to a vote on his Wage and 
Hour bill. The bill had been hamstrung by amendments and was hardly 
recognizable, but it would have been acceptable. The vote was not on 
the bill itself, but on a motion to recommit the bill to the House Labor 
Committee for further study and revision. The motion was carried 
by a vote of 216 to 198, the Republican minority being swelled by a 
bloc of Southerners. The vote ended a seven months' struggle over the 
bill, which had been passed by the Senate in June. The vote was the 
first conclusive action taken by Congress after five weeks of strug- 
gling on the five-point program the President had presented in his 
call crop control, wages and hours, government reorganization, re- 
source planning, and modernization of antitrust legislation. 

The President was furious over the vote. He muttered against south- 
ern betrayal, then declared he would see that the legislation would be 
introduced early in the regular session of Congress a few weeks off. 
He was not as angry as he had been over defeat in the Court fight, 
but only slightly less so. He was bitter in references to those who had 
betrayed him. He said the people wanted the program and he was 
determined that they should have it. 

The President was not to show his hand to me for another month, 
however. It was the Christmas season and politics were pushed into 
the background. I called him from New York to wish him a merry 
Christmas. He expressed hope that I, Bess, and the children would have 
"a grand Christmas." 

New Year's Eve I reached Washington to find that the President 
had been trying to call me. When I returned the call he was at dinner. 
I tried again between the acts of a show I attended, but found he 
was in his study. The next morning he reached me at my apartment. 
Before he had exchanged more than a perfunctory New Year's wish, 
he said he had called to talk about Bob Jackson's speech at the New 

New York governorship 117 

York City Jackson Day dinner on January 8. I told him the arrange- 
ments were satisfactory. Later in the day I was talking with Senator 
Wagner and Vincent Dailey at headquarters when the President called 
again and appeared to be put out about the arrangements. The Presi- 
dent was most anxious that everyone be fair to Bob Jackson. 

After the call Wagner and I agreed that the President had evidently 
decided on running the head of the antitrust division, who was soon 
to be named Solicitor General, for the governorship of New York. 
Wagner said there was no chance for Jackson, which was my opinion, 
too. At the time, concern was being voiced over speeches delivered 
by Jackson and Ickes. Many felt, as I did, that these speeches were 
retarding recovery and rendering a delicate economic situation more 
acute. Some felt that Jackson and Ickes were letting off blasts the 
President hesitated to deliver himself. Jackson had accused business of 
conducting "a strike of capital" against the New Deal and held that the 
only criticism which could be leveled against the new philosophy of 
government was that "it set out a breakfast for the canary and let the 
cat steal it." Ickes was more savage, carrying on a war against busi- 
ness, while the President was seeing more leaders of industry than 
he had ever seen, in a desperate search for a way out of the slough of 
recession into which his New Deal was sinking. 

In his Jackson Day address, the President echoed the Ickes and 
Bob Jackson blasts at monopoly by reporting that of a total of 13 
billion dollars worth of electric utility securities, owners of less than 
600 million dollars exercised control of the industry. He told celebrat- 
ing Democrats throughout the nation, "Here is a pd-inch dog being 
wagged by a 4-inch tail." The next day on the telephone I found him 
still chuckling over his joke. He wanted to know what I thought of his 
"dog" story. I replied that over the radio he seemed to be getting a 
good laugh himself. 

I reported Oliver Quayle, party treasurer, estimated we would make 
up to $450,000. "Great," he enthused. "But that's not what I called 
you for, Jim. I need your help. The Ludlow resolution calling for a 
national referendum before a declaration of war is coming up for a 
vote in the House* I'm told the vote is very close. I wish you would 

ii8 Jim Farley's story 

do all you can to help defeat it. Call Hague and Kelly and get their dele- 
gations lined up. We must beat this resolution as it will tie our hands 
in dealing with international affairs." I promised I would come down 
to do all I could. 

Monday I spent the entire morning on the phone calling Congress- 
men and urging them to support the administration. I talked to seventy- 
eight men. All but two or three had signed the petition, circulated at 
the time of the Panay crisis, to bring the resolution to the floor for a 
vote. I was unable to reach 32 others for whom I had placed calls. 
Later I was satisfied that most of these were evading me, because only 
four voted with the Administration. I succeeded in inducing a large 
number to change their vote. Hull was most grateful, saying my efforts 
had undoubtedly led to defeat of the resolution by the narrow vote 
of 209 to 1 88. 1 sent a complete report of my calls, including those to 
Frank Hague and Edward J. Kelly, to the White House, where the 
President found the list interesting. At a Cabinet meeting, Garner 
credited me with turning the tide. 

The next day, at a morning conference in the President's office, we 
talked about the recent resignation of Supreme Court Justice Suther- 
land. The resignation cut the Old Guard of the high Court to two 
and gave the liberals, counting the successor to Sutherland, a majority 
as effective as any the President would have received under the Court 
plan. I was hopeful he would forget those Democrats who had op- 
posed his scheme. In the interest of healing the breach in the Demo- 
cratic party, I thought a bit of humor might not be out of place. 

"I have a candidate for the Supreme Court for you," I offered. 
. "Who's that?" he asked. 

"Burton K. Wheeler." 

"Where' d you get that idea?" he snapped. 

"I don't remember at the moment. Someone gave it to me. When 
it comes to me, I'll send you a memorandum." Later I remembered it 
was Representative William I. Sirovich of New York City and I for- 
warded this information to him. 

"Wheeler's trying to use, his vote on the Supreme Court bill as a 
springboard to the Presidency," the President said. 

New York governorship 119 

I saw that my joke had missed fire. Without asking him whom he 
had in mind, I urged him to make the appointment as soon as possible. 
He promised to do so by the end of the week and eventually sent up 
the name of the Solicitor General, Stanley Reed, which choice was 
expected and applauded. 



Es THAT January I got definite indication of what I had long 
f eare d that the President's hate for members of the party who 
had opposed him on the Court fight had not cooled by the lapse 
of time, but glowed as fierce as ever under the ashes of the past six 
months. By the tone of his references, I knew he was still bitter; but 
such references had been fewer and less heated, so I had high expecta- 
tions that all would be forgotten for the all-important Congressional 
elections ahead elections made more important because the recession 
was unquestionably strengthening the opposition. While I was un- 
easy, I had no actual indication of the purge that was on the way, 
beyond vague threats uttered immediately after the defeat, until Jan- 
uary 27, 1938. 

That morning I received a call in New York from James Roosevelt, 
son and secretary to the President. He said candidates for the Senate 
were going to file in Illinois the next day and wanted to know if we 
had said anything publicly on the Administration's attitude. I told him 
we had not; but I thought it advisable that I issue a statement imme- 
diately declaring that the administration was not going to become in- 
volved in primary fights in the Congressional districts. I said I would 
be in Washington the next morning and bring a statement to the 
President. Jimmy said we should not wait until tomorrow and asked 
that I dictate a statement over the phone. This I did as follows: 

In the course of political events we have reached that stage in which 
ambitious men of the Democratic party are launching their campaigns for 
nomination or renbmination for Governorships and to the Senate and to 
the House of Representatives. As usual the newspapers are carrying a great 
deal of gossip that this or that candidate is favored by the Democratic Na- 
tional organization, which moves me at this time to repeat what I have so 
often said on these occasions; that is, that the job of the Democratic Na- 
tional Committee is to work for and to assist in every way possible in the 
election of the party candidates. It denies to no man the right to aspire to 


Purge prescribed 121 

office and it has absolutely no concern with, or in, the primary or conven- 
tion struggles for these nominations. As individuals, the members of the 
National Committee may have their favorites, but as a body the organiza- 
tion's hands ate off and will continue to be off. These nominations are en- 
tirely the affair of the States or the Congressional districts, and however 
these early battles may result, the National Committee will be behind the 
candidate that the people themselves choose. This goes for every state and 
every Congressional district. 

Jimmy thanked me. I had the statement transcribed as dictated. Ten 
minutes later he was back on the phone again saying everything was 
fine except for the last two sentences. I said they had been included to 
quiet fears expressed to the Committee and argued for their retention 
since they expressed sound party doctrine. He flung an irrefutable an- 
swer at me with "Father has struck the last two sentences out." Out 
they went and in came a flock of troubles. An albatross, not of my own 
shooting, was hung from my neck. From that time on I knew no po- 
litical peace. I have the copy of the statement before me now, the one 
from which I struck the two sentences by order of the White House. 
It seems as though it were yesterday that I was looking at it for the 
first time and saying to myself, "It's time to stop feeling sorry for the 

My worst fears began to be realized at the White House conference 
the next day. From that time conferences were latticed with a pattern 
of purge talk. From the beginning I made it clear that I could not as 
Democratic chairman drop the reins of the party band wagon to whip 
the boys hitching a, ride on the tail gate. -The President agreed that I 
should keep my hands off because of my position. It was my conten- 
tion that it was perfectly proper for the people, in their wisdom, to 
punish those who had voted against him on the Court bill, wage and 
hour legislation, and the like; but quite another thing for the national 
organization to call for their defeat. He expressed himself confident 
that the people would support him by defeating his opponents, adding 
that he might, like the schoolmaster, have to apply the political birch 
to teach refractory members of the party the three R's Regularity, 
Right, and Reason. 

In the next month he went over the whole political field as he pre- 

122 Jim Farley's story 

pared to distribute patronage rewards for "going along" and punish- 
ments for not "going along" to twenty-seven Senators and some three 
hundred Representatives. One of the President's first concerns was the 
senatorial nomination in Illinois. The situation was complicated by the 
internal strife between Governor Henry Horner on one side and Mayor 
Kelly and the National Committeeman Patrick Nash on the other. 
Horner wanted Congressman Scott Lucas and the Kelly-Nash ma- 
chine, United States District Attorney Michael Igoe. Neither faction 
wanted Dieterich. The President said he had asked the warring groups 
not to become involved in a public fight because of Dieterich's loyalty 
to his administration. Their differences could not be reconciled, how- 
ever, and Dieterich was forced to withdraw from the race. 

In Georgia the President wanted Senator Walter F. George defeated. 
He was particularly anxious to make an object lesson of George be- 
cause he thought such a defeat would furnish a lasting lesson to the 
southern bloc in Congress which had been opposing his social reforms. 

4 We've just got to beat George, Jim," he said. 

"Boss, I think you're foolish," I said. "I don't think George can be 
beaten. The only man who could possibly defeat George would be 
Governor E. D. Rivers and I don't think he could do it. In fact, I'm 
not sure Rivers thinks he could do it. I don't think he would run. And, 
if he did, he might do you more harm than good. Rivers's nomination 
would raise the Klan issue and I don't think you want to go through 
that again so soon. Don't misunderstand me; he's a fine fellow and a 
personal friend of mine, one for whom I have a genuine regard, but 
you must face the facts." 

"We'll have to talk about it again," he said. 

He was no less eager to defeat Senator Tydings in Maryland* "IVe 
had a talk with Bill Stanley (former Assistant Attorney General) and 
he thinks our best candidates would be President H. C. Byrd of the 
University of Maryland and Attorney General Herbert O' Conor for 
Senator," he said. 

"Pm sure O'Conor would like to get into the Senate, but I think 
he's made some sort of commitment to run for Governor," I said. 'Til 
talk to Howard Bruce, Maryland's National Committeeman, and to 

Purge prescribed 123 

Byrd, and let you know. IVe been seeing Byrd about Federal aid for 
the University." 

"Oh, yes, IVe taken that up with Ickes, but haven't received a re- 
port yet." 

He asked me what I thought of running Paul V. McNutt for the 
Senate against Senator Frederick Van Nuys in Indiana. 

I said, "Boss, there's no use going into that again. McNutt was re- 
sponsible for having the Indiana delegation vote against every Roose- 
velt proposal in the convention. Why, if he had had his way, you 
wouldn't be here today." 

"Now, now, Jim," he counseled, "I know Paul is a hot presidential 
candidate, but so is Tydings." 

"McNutt's a red-hot candidate," I said, "but I don't think he can 
be nominated. He won't have any delegates with him but the Indiana 

In this connection I could not fail to mark how conscious the Boss 
was becoming of political ambition. He had gone out of his way at 
various times to tax me, La Guardia, McNutt, and Tydings with nurs- 
ing plans to redecorate the White House. In the months to come, I 
was to find this thought was never far from the front of his mind 
whenever he undertook even a casual appraisal of almost anyone in po- 
litical life. 

Returning to the Indiana situation I gave it as my opinion that Van 
Nuys would run independent if he lost the Democratic nomination 
and thus assure the election of a Republican. The President remarked 
that he was aware that Van Nuys was "vindictive." 
"What do you think about Iowa?" he asked. 
"Frankly, I am quite disturbed about it," I said. "Iowa has always 
been Republican and seems to be slipping back." 

"I don't think Senator Gillette is a strong candidate," he said. "If 
we could get a real liberal, we would have a strong ticket." 

Thus, Gillette was marked for purging. It was my opinion he could 
get the nomination, but I was not so sure of the election. The President 
asked about Senator Augustine Lonergan of Connecticut and Senator 
Bennett C. Clark of Missouri. I told him that both men were acceptable 

124 J* m Farley's story 

to all elements within the Democratic party in their states and would 
be renominated. I made it clear there was nothing he could do about it. 
He asked about Senator Alva B. Adams in Colorado. I replied that I 
thought Adams would win. The President said he thought Mayor 
Stapleton of Denver could beat Adams. I said there was no chance 
because the Adams forces would be joined by those of Senator Edwin 
C. Johnson. Adams had not taken an active part in the Court fight but 
would have voted against the plan had it reached that stage. The Presi- 
dent asked what chance there was for beating Senator Pat McCarran 
of Nevada or Senator Ellison D. Smith of South Carolina. To my curt 
"none," in each case, he offered no comment. 

We discussed the situation in Pennsylvania where, I said, conflicting 
personal ambitions were injuring the Democratic cause. In California 
he said he was hopeful Senator William G. McAdoo would be re- 
elected and signified he was willing to help. In Ohio he expected Sen- 
ator Robert J. Buckley would beat Congressman Dudley A. White. 
Neither of us thought Charles Sawyer, National Committeeman from 
Ohio, would take the Democratic gubernatorial nomination from Gov- 
ernor Martin L. Davey. The President said he had tried once to per- 
suade Congressman Wesley E. Disney of Oklahoma not to run against 
Senator Elmer Thomas and hoped to convince the Representative, in 
another interview, to let his senatorial ambitions sleep awhile. 

"And that brings us to Kentucky," the President said. "I am very 
anxious to have Barkley reelected. If Barkley loses the fight, Pat Har- 
rison will become majority leader and I'm afraid Pat won't go along 
on liberal legislation." 

"I'm sure that Pat is loyal and will go along," I said. "You will find 
that he will go along like Senator Robinson to the last breath. There 
are stories that Robinson was not too strong for the Court plan, but 
went along anyway." 

"They just aren't true," he snapped. 

"I am not saying they are," I reminded him. "I am just passing on 
what I hear. I have been told that Senator Wheeler was advised every 
night, with the knowledge of Robinson, what fellows were weakening 
on his side and what fellows were weakening on our side." 

"I just don't believe it," the President said. "You know, I have come 

Purge prescribed 125 

to the conclusion that Wheeler is not a progressive or liberal at heart, 
but a New England conservative, the same as Calvin Coolidge. He 
moved out to Montana and had to go along with the progressive ideas 
that were in evidence in that section of the country, but his heart was 
never in them. I have known him a long time but I have never really 
known him well. Of course, he is tremendously ambitious aad wants 
to be President. His wife is even more ambitious for the White House 
and it's a well-known fact that she runs him. He can't control her." 

"I've never known Wheeler well," I answered, "nor Mrs. Wheeler; 
but more than one man has had trouble controlling his wife on po- 
litical matters. But getting back to Kentucky, at present it looks as 
though Governor Chandler is in the lead. 'Happy' is an able cam- 

"I realize it and that is the reason why we should put forth all our 
efforts for Alben." 

"It has been brought to my attention that Barkley thinks I am 
against him," I said. "I must see him and correct this impression. In 
accordance with our agreement, I am keeping my hands off primary 
fights. I am fond of Barkley and Chandler. I wish they could both 

"Barkley must win," Roosevelt said earnestly. "Harrison would re- 
peal the Capital Gains Tax, He would do it now if he could." 

The last state discussion in our political review was our mutual 
native state of New York. The Jackson bubble had exploded and 
Jackson had been kicked upstairs by being named Solicitor General. 

"Bob lacks political experience," he shook his head sadly. "Such a 
nice fellow, too." 

"You just couldn't get anywhere with him," I said. "I'm satisfied of 
that. I think Governor Lehman might want to run again." 

"I think so, too," he said. "Mrs. Lehman likes to be first lady of the 
state. But he's not working so hard as he did. He spends a lot of time 
in Westchester and doesn't work like he did." 

"He's too busy writing letters," I put in facetiously in reference to 
the Governor's letter to Senator Wagner against the Court plan. He 
ignored my reference to the letter which had put a beautiful friend- 
ship on ice. Later Roosevelt forgave Lehman. 

i 2 6 Jim Farley's story 

I asked whether he had any new legislation to propose to Congress. 

"No, I haven't anything on the fire for this session/' he said, "but I 
will have for the next. I have to do something about housing. Unless 
private capital steps in hurriedly and starts spending money, the Fed- 
eral government will have to lend assistance. J. P. Morgan and Com- 
pany and Thomas W. Lamont agree with me on this. So does Owen 
D. Young. I have some definite ideas in mind for a road program- 
some transcontinental highways, Boston to Atlanta and others." 

We talked about finding a place for Frank Murphy in the adminis- 
tration, because the latter was doubtful of reelection in view of his 
record against sit-down strikers in Michigan, The President said he 
planned to name Harry Hopkins, then recuperating in Florida, First 
Commissioner of Public Welfare when such a department was ap- 
proved with the passage of his reorganization program. 

"By the way, do you think Dan Roper is willing to resign?" he 

"I think he will resign if you suggest it," was my answer. 

"Maybe I could send him to Canada and put Joe Kennedy in his 

"I don't think Joe would be satisfied with anything less than the 
Treasury," I said. "Don't you expect him to stay abroad?" 

"Only about a year," he answered. "I'd like to get him in Com- 

"Or get Dan out," I interjected. 

"You have something there," he laughed. "But Joe is an able fellow. 
You know, I've been annoyed by stories that I appointed Joe before 
Robert Bingham resigned. Actually the late Ambassador had said he 
wanted to resign. He telephoned from abroad saying he wanted to 
come home for a physical examination and would resign, but wanted 
to defer his resignation until the check-up. He wanted to go back to 
close his affairs at the embassy. Actually I had his resignation but did 
not make it public. The story by Arthur Krock in the New York 
Times was annoying to me and to Bingham in the hospital where 
he died." 

Not long after I discovered the Krock story came directly from the 

Purge prescribed 127 

White House, but without the President's knowledge, then or after- 

At this time it was my belief that the Democrats would not lose 
more than two or three seats in the Senate and about fifty in the 
House. I based this estimate on the inevitable return pendulum swing 
of an off-presidential year, the general recession, and the fact the 
Democratic machine was not functioning as smoothly as it might be- 
cause of the split within the party. I considered this a most serious 
deflection and was striving as best I could to quiet party fears. My 
efforts were being pointed at the November elections, in the belief 
that once the primaries were out of the way, all would be well. I little 
knew what was ahead. 

In these days I was spending more and more time with members of 
Congress. The President had asked that I help in the drive to put over 
his governmental reorganization bill. On Capitol Hill I ran into the 
trails of Harold L. Ickes, Harry Hopkins, David K. Niles, Joseph B. 
Keenan, Thomas G. Corcoran, and James Roosevelt, all of whom were 
expressing the displeasure of the President with those who had op- 
posed him. On every hand I heard complaints that the vast power of 
the administration in the manipulation of patronage and funds was 
being mobilized to purge the party of all but one hundred per cent 
New Dealers. There was much grumbling that while the President 
was proclaiming hands-off in the Democratic primaries, he was writ- 
ing letters endorsing the candidacy of his friends. 

There were innumerable murmurings from Congressmen that these 
advisers were displacing me and that presidential purgers had taken 
over the party machinery. I was doing my best to laugh away these 
fears when a blast of presidential displeasure came up out of the South 
with a terrible roar. I had seen the President off on a spring vacation 
to Warm Springs. On his way down he paused at Gainesville, Georgia, 
to dedicate a public square named after him. He was introduced to a 
sizable crowd by Senator George. The President ignored the Senator 
but beamed over Governor Eurith D. Rivers. 

The words the President spoke were not many but they were as 
heavy with ominous portent as the chains that Marley's ghost dragged 

128 Jim Farley's story 

to the bedside of Ebenezer Scrooge. The halls of Congress echoed his 
blast against representatives of the people "who vote against legisla- 
tion to help social and economic conditions, proclaiming loudly they 
are for the objectives but do not like the methods, and then fail utterly 
to offer a better method of their own." He laid the South's difficulties 
to old-fashioned feudalism, adding: "When you come down to it, there 
is little difference between the feudal system and the fascist system, 
If you believe in the one you lean to the other." What was even 
more galling to southern members of Congress was the inference that 
those who had opposed him had been purchased by the vested inter- 
ests. I found members of Congress seething. Garner told me that the 
speech had made a solid bloc that would vote against almost anything 
the President might propose. He labelled the purge "as unnecessary as 
hell," predicting it could do nothing but harm to the party in Novem- 
ber. He stormed against the President's advisers, saying they had crept 
up on the Boss's blind side. 

The next week the President threw Congress into another dither 
by an extraordinary announcement, released to reporters at two o'clock 
one morning at Warm Springs, castigating those who were oppos- 
ing his reorganization bill He characterized the opposition as "an 
organized effort on the part of political or special interest groups" 
and then expressed personal disinclination to become a dictator with; 

"I have no inclination to be a dictator. 

"I have none of the qualifications which would make a successful 

"I have too much historical background and too much knowledge 
of existing dictatorships to make me desire any form of dictatorship 
for a democracy like the United States." 

The statement was a calculated reply to the flood of hundreds of 
thousands of telegrams against the plan, which poured in upon mem- 
bers of Congress, at the inspiration of the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, 
radio priest, and Frank Gannett, publisher. The Senate supported the 
measure and the President hailed the action as evidence that the Sen- 
ate cannot be purchased by organized telegrams based on direct mis- 
representation. The use of the word "purchased" was resented in Con- 
gress where administration spokesmen were offering all sorts of 

Purge prescribed 129 

promises for votes. While the bill would not have made Roosevelt a dic- 
tator, the overzealous activity of White House agents gave members 
of the House considerable reason to believe so when the measure came 
up in that body. 

On the President's return from Warm Springs I found him in ex- 
cellent humor, nearer what he had been in his earliest days in office 
than I had seen him in some time, I saw him at a bedside conference 
that morning. 

I grasped the opportunity to deal quite frankly with the problem of 
Congress and the business recession. I revealed myself as hopeful there 
would be no more clashes with Congress. 

"In other words, I hope this session of Congress will soon adjourn 
and that we try, if possible, to get away without having any more 
legislation proposed/' I said. 

"Lord, Jim, so do I," he said with a flash of old time candor. "I feel 
just as you do. I want to get them home as soon as possible. We might 
need some money for relief and possibly tax legislation. Might need a 
billion or a billion and a half for public works." 

"Well, I hope that they move it as soon as possible. The atmosphere 
here and around the country is none too good, if you know what I 


"I certainly do, Jim. I'm fully aware of the situation that has been 
created around the country through propaganda and by other means. 
Every time I ask for more legislation they raise the cry of 'dictator' 
and, apparently because of the situation that exists in Europe, they 
frighten the people in this country over such a possibility. I mean a 
possibility of dictatorship. This, has had its eif ect on legislation. The 
people are unnecessarily disturbed about it as in the case of the re- 
organization bill This bill doesn't really mean very much. You and I 
know it. The teeth have been taken out and there really isn't very 
much to it except the principle of the thing." 

For some time I had been worried about the President's attitude on 
the recession. There was an honest doubt in my mind as to whether 
he realized the seriousness of the situation. However, in our talk I 
found him fully aware of the problem and preparing to take steps 
to meet the crisis. 

130 Jim Farley's story 

On April 8, 1938, I got busy with the telephone to aid in the re- 
organization fight, determined to help the President emerge as the 
master of his party. Everywhere I found members of Congress com- 
mitted against the bill. I was surprised at the strength of the opposition, 
particularly since the bill as passed by the Senate was a mild one. I 
got a number of Congressmen to go along, but many refused to be 
budged. I worked right up to the night when the bill was defeated 
by a vote of zo4 to 196. 

The next day I had lunch with the President. I rode over from the 
Post Office Department expecting to find him in a lather similar to 
those he worked up over defeat of the Court plan and the wage and 
hour legislation. Before I went in to him I had a chat with White 
House Secretary Early, who told me that an effort was being made to 
have the President fire a critical salvo at deserting Democrats by writ- 
ing a letter to Congressman Rayburn congratulating him on his effort 
in the losing battle. I guessed that Early was referring to Ickes, Cor- 
coran, Hopkins, and the rest of the White House clique. Early said 
he had argued for a more conciliatory tone and showed me the copy of 
a letter he favored. 

When I went in I found the President in a mood to talk and more 
hurt than angry over the latest defeat. I took the bull by the horns 
by stating that I had seen the Early letter, thought it was a good letter, 
and considered it expressed the proper attitude for him to take. 

"Jim, Til tell you that I didn't expect the vote," he said. "I can't 
understand it. There wasn't a chance for anyone to become a dic- 
tator under that bill." 

"The best thing to. do is to forget it," I said, embarrassed by his 
confession of bewilderment. "The important thing to do is to get peo- 
ple to work. It is essential to get the relief legislation moving as quickly 
as possible and get Congress out of here by May r 5, if possible. I think 
you should do as much as you can for the Public Works Administration 
because the people regard that organization highly." 

We shifted to a discussion of politics. He asked for a review of the 
situation beginning by saying he did not think we would lose more 
than five or six seats in Congress. 

"I think we might lose two or three -in the Senate alone," I said. 

Purge prescribed I3I 

"We can hold our own in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and we 
might have a loss in Connecticut. That takes care of New England." 
he said. 

1 Well, we might be all right in New York, but we may be seriously 
affected in Pennsylvania because of the unfortunate fight within the 
party," I said. "We will lose some seats in Illinois. We might also lose 
in the Midwest generally. We may lose in Delaware. The Ohio situa- 
tion is not good. I don't think there's much danger in the western 
states. The border states are safe. At present I would say we may lose 
about fifty seats; but then the situation may clear up by election time." 

"Seems to me you're getting to be a gloomy prophet," he laughed, 
"and I'm getting to be more optimistic than you." 

"See me in October; I can call them better when we come down 
the stretch." I joined in his laugh. 

"Jim, why don't you run for the Senate?" he asked. 

"Boss, I just wouldn't like it," I said. "Whatever ability I have is 
executive, and it would just drive me mad to sit up there every day 
and listen to speeches." 

"I can understand your attitude, but we just can't close the matter 
by leaving the ticket at Bob Wagner for Governor and Jim Mead for 
the Senate, if Lehman won't *run again," he said. "By the way, I saw 
La Guardia the other day and he isn't strong for Lehman. He doesn't 
want to support him." 

"He will, because the American Labor Party is for Lehman," I put 
in. "There's no doubt in my mind that La Guardia would support 
Lehman before he would throw in his lot with a reactionary Republi- 


"Well, La Guardia suggested that the three of us sit down and ar- 
range for a ticket that the American Labor Party would like," he 

"I'm out," I said with no little finality. 

The next few days were occupied with the planning and writing 
of the presidential message which officially acknowledged the United 
States was in another depression. The solution to be offered Congress 
was five billion dollars of pump priming in cash and credits, including 
$1,250,000,000 for the Works Progress Administration, $1,450,000,000 

132 Jim Farley's story 

for the Public Works Administration, $462,000,000 for housing, flood 
control, and federal buildings, and $300,000,000 for the Civilian Con- 
servation Corps. He had been voted an authorization of one and a 
half billion dollars in new Reconstruction Finance Corporation loans 
the week before. 

I had dinner with the President April 12, during which I sought 
to impress upon him that speed was the essence of his pending program; 
that every effort should be made not only to halt the downward spiral 
but to move it back up again. He was in a good frame of mind, but I 
could see by the jut of his chin he had made up his mind and was 
determined to go through with what he had already decided on. In 
the talk the name of Henry Wallace was brought up. 

"Henry would like to run for President," he said slowly. "However, 
I'd rather have a fellow like Ickes named, who, at least, is a fighter. 
Ickes will go through with whatever he has in mind. But you never 
know what Henry will do. He's in favor of one thing today and some- 
thing entirely different tomorrow." 

Around 8:15 P.M. Ickes and Wallace came in along with Hull, Mor- 
genthau, Harry Hopkins, Jesse Jones, Jimmy Roosevelt, and Steve 
Early. The President read his message to the assemblage. Some sug- 
gestions were offered. The next day Jesse, Harry, Steve, Jimmy, and 
Paul Appleby of the Department of Agriculture met at the White 
House in the morning for another round of suggestions. At five o'clock 
that afternoon the President had me back for another reading, this 
time with Senators Glass, McKellar, Wagner, Barkley, Hayden, and 
Byrnes, and Congressmen Rayburn, Taylor, Woodrum, and Cannon. 
There was general approval of the message, although Glass was cold 
to the WPA proposal. 

The message was well received as was another, somewhat later, 
asking for a Congressional investigation of monopoly which did much 
to undo the harm wrought by the Jackson and Ickes diatribes against 
"economic oligarchy," and the "60 families." A third and unconven- 
tional message to the Congressional Conference Committee, seeking 
to reconcile Senate and House views on taxation, was not so well re- 
ceived. It was the President's position that business would be hurt, 
not helped, by the Senate's slash of the administration's pet measure, 

Purge prescribed 133 

the undistributed profits and capital gains taxes. The conference ulti- 
mately brought about a compromise, but the President's message did not 
sit well in the memory of the conservative wing of his own party. 

With these matters off his desk, the President once more turned his 
hand to politics. In Illinois the result had been unfavorable but not too 
bad. Igoe, who had White House support, was defeated by Lucas, who 
had voted against wage and hour legislation. The New Deal lost this 
state earlier, however, when Dieterich withdrew after he was turned 
out of the Kelly-Nash and Horner factions. 

In a series of conferences in late April and May, the President re- 
iterated his desire to defeat Clark, McCarran, Smith, Adams, Tydings, 
Gillette, Van Nuys, George, and Lonergan. Each time, I gave him the 
best information I had, but kept myself aloof from the primary battles. 
I tried to tell him why this or that candidate could not dent one of his 
targets, but each time I found him determined to go through with 
the purge. 

I did make an exception to my rule in Pennsylvania, where a vio- 
lent primary campaign, best described by the President as reminding 
him of Dante's "Inferno," gave concern that factional feuding might 
cost us the state in November. 

At the President's request I issued a statement in favor of Governor 
George Earle for the senatorial nomination and Thomas Kennedy for 

But Earle repudiated our support. The next day Pennsylvania voters 
turned thumbs down on it decisively by nominating Charles Alvin 
Jones over Kennedy, and Earle over Samuel D. Wilson. A few days 
later I found the President smoldering over Earle and the Pennsylvania 

"Earle has killed his chances for the Presidency," he said, "unless he 
comes to the Senate and makes a reputation that would nullify the 
primary results." 

The state went Republican in the November election. 

The President was most anxious to defeat Senator George in 
Georgia, but was having difficulty in finding a candidate. He was glee- 
ful over reports that George appeared to be worried. 

"I am going to endorse someone, if I have to pick my tenant farmer, 

134 Ji m Farley's story- 

Moore," he said one day. "Rivers is definitely out, but will support 
whoever is picked. He's out because of the Ku Klux Klan business and 
because Eugene Talmadge would beat him." 

He was equally firm about getting a candidate against Tydings in 
Maryland. There was some hope that Congressman Goldsborough, a 
power on the eastern shore, and Congressman Lewis, a power in west- 
ern Maryland, could get together to block nomination of Tydings. The 
President said he wanted to name Goldsborough for a judicial post 
and might have to pick Davey Lewis for the Senate race if O'Conor 
would not pull out of the race for Governor in behalf of President 
Byrd of Maryland University. 

Senator McAdoo had given me the draft of a letter he wanted the 
President to write for him. The President made a wry face as he read 
the glowing tribute McAdoo had composed for himself. He said he 
couldn't write the suggested letter, but would write a "Dear Mac" let- 
ter that would be satisfactory to the Senator, but not "so sugary." 

We talked about the Missouri situation, where I said Senator Clark 
was bulletproof against purging. In this connection I reported that 
Senator Truman wanted to name the United States Marshal in the 
western district of the state and felt entitled to the post because he 
had consistently supported the administration. Roosevelt said he would 
have to consult Governor Stark. I protested that I did not think Stark 
should be consulted because it was a Federal appointment. He coun- 
tered by saying Stark and T. J. Pendergast would have a battle for 
control this fall and the Governor might win. 

"Jim, I'm going to go to Kentucky to help Barkley," he said. "Pm 
going to make a speech for him." 

I said frankly that his appearance there was the only thing that could 
help Barkley, as Chandler was a formidable campaigner. I was not 
sure the visit would turn the tide. 

In Idaho I told him Senator James P. Pope, who had supported the 
administration, would have his hands full with Congressman Worth 
Clark running on an anti-New Deal program. 

During this period he discussed the Cabinet quite frankly. Dan 
Roper was beginning to feel the blasts of presidential coolness at Cab- 
inet meetings and had asked W. Averell Harriman whether he should 

Purge prescribed 135 

resign. I said I was sure Dan would accept another appointment or be 
content to retire to private life if the President so wished. 

"I'll be glad to consider him when I get around to him," he said. 
"But we have to find someone for his place. We might take Frank 
Murphy, who is worried that he will be defeated for Governor this 

"Why not give the spot to Jesse Jones?" I asked. 

"I don't want to do that," he said, "because just as soon as Jesse 
would get into the Cabinet he would try to use his office to get elected 
President. And he would make a bad President, Jim; he's too old and in 
bad health." 

The President said he didn't know what to do with Secretary of the 
Navy Swanson, who was getting feebler every day. Nor did he know 
what to do with Secretary of War Woodring. 

I asked the Boss whether he had read the book, The 1 68 Days, by 
Turner Catledge and Joseph Alsop, which was the story of the Su- 
preme Court fight. I remarked that it contained mention of many in- 
side discussions that could have come only from participants in various 

"There's nothing I can do about it," he said. "It's a shame the way 
stories leak out. Frankly I think Harold Ickes is responsible for many 
of the stories that leak out of Cabinet meetings. I think he tells them 
to Drew Pearson. I arrive at this conclusion by a process of elimina- 
tion. Hull and Morgenthau don't give them out, I'm sure Woodring, 
Cummings and you don't leak. Swanson doesn't see anyone. Neither 
Perkins, Wallace, or Roper would carry tales. That leaves Harold." 

I asked about Morgenthau, who had been ailing. 

"Oh, Henry works himself up into terrible stews," he said lightly. 
"When I was away, he was terribly concerned about the tri-partite 
agreement between the United States, France, and Britain on money 
stabilization. He was calling London every other minute and sweat- 
ing over developments. You know when Henry is under a strain, he 
gets terrible headaches and really is in a very, very bad way. Now he's 
distressed about the relief program, not being in sympathy with it. I'll 
have to rub his brow and he'll be all right." 

At this time I was working on my book, Behind the Ballots, with 

136 Jim Farley's story 

Eddie Roddan. The President asked me particularly to mention that 
he had built up Lehman in New York. 

"Jim, do you remember in 1929 when I told you I didn't want two 
terms as governor and should be looking around for a successor?" he 
said. "And do you remember in 1930 1 definitely told you Lehman was 
the man? I did everything possible to put Lehman in the limelight and 
saw to it he was sent to different places throughout the state so he 
could be better known. The trouble with the Democratic party now 
is that they haven't built anyone up, particularly upstate." 



DURING THIS period the President was in excellent physical con- 
dition. Following his Warm Springs visit he went on a fishing 
trip along the Atlantic coast on the shakedown cruise of the 
U.S.S. Philadelphia. His mental attitude was up to par. He was un- 
daunted by the Illinois and Pennsylvania setbacks and was sublimely 
confident that he could reform his party through the purges. He was 
not a whit less confident that the depression would be solved, if Con- 
gress would only follow his lead. 

Jack Garner took a more realistic view of the situation. I had lunch 
with him and a number of Senators, including Minton, Lee, Byrnes, 
Barkley, Schwellenbach, Burke, and Truman. There was considerable 
good-natured kidding about the purge. After lunch Garner took me to 
his office where he gnawed angrily at a cigar as he gave vent to his 
analysis of the situation. 

"The Boss has stirred up a hornet's nest by getting into these pri- 
mary fights," he said. "There are now twenty men Democrats in 
the Senate who will vote against anything he wants because they are 
mad clean through. The feeling is becoming intensely bitter. It's down- 
right unhealthy. Jim, I think you ought to take exception to the Presi- 
dent's attitude. I think you should do so for the good of the party and 
this country." 

"John, I just can't do that unless I resign from the Cabinet and the 
Democratic Committee. I don't like the purge any more than you do, 
but the situation won't be helped by my breaking with the Boss. I 
think I can render the best service by carrying on impartially until 
after the elections are over, and then determine what is best for me 
to do at that time. Until then there is nothing for me to do but go on 
as I have been doing. I will do my best to hold the party together." 

"That's my concern," he said. "Fm interested in the continued suc- 
cess of the Democratic party. I've spent top many years working to 

138 Jim Farley's story 

get the party in power to enjoy the prospect facing us now. We are 
throwing away what we have gained. I have no further political am- 
bitions. The party has been good to me. When it's all over, I want 
to go back to Uvalde and live to be a hundred. I don't think the Boss 
has any definite program to meet the business situation. I don't think 
much of the spending program. You can't keep spending forever; 
some day you have to meet the bills." 

Political thunder came from the right in the primary campaign. Out 
in Iowa Gillette and Wearin waved their arms among the rows of tall 
corn. Gillette denounced "this gang of political termites . . . boring 
from within . . . planning on taking over ... the Democratic 
party" and publicly acknowledged his opposition of the Court plan 
as "my crime, which has brought down on me ... this pack of po- 
litical wolves." Wearin played up the endorsement of Harry Hopkins 
and Jimmy Roosevelt. Gillette handily won renomination. I saw the 
President the day after the Primary. I showed him a wire I was send- 
ing congratulating Gillette on his victory and he approved it. I sug- 
gested that he see Gillette soon in the interests of promoting party 
harmony. He was not warm to the idea, but said he would see what 
could be done. Subsequently he extended the olive branch by offering 
a luncheon invitation. 

June and July found the purgers working assiduously, but getting 
no pay dirt. In Indiana the state organization handed Van Nuys the 
nomination on bended knee. In Colorado Senator Adams licked 
his chops over Judge Benjamin Hilliard, who launched his unsuccess- 
ful candidacy practically from the front porch of the White House. 
In Texas three one hundred per cent New Dealers Maury Maverick, 
Morgan Sanders, and W. D. McFarlane bit the dust, and five Texas 
Congressmen blacklisted by the CIO, including Hatton W. Summers, 
vigorous foe of Court packing, were renominated. The score for the 
purgers was a succession of defeats. Senator Elmer Thomas won in 
Oklahoma with the White House blessing and Senator Claude Pepper 
won in Florida, but neither of these contests figured in the purge fight. 

Meantime, the purge strategy board was turning up candidates 
against the men marked for extermination, but they didn't look like 
s. The President dispatched White House Secretary Marvin 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 139 

H. Mclntyre to Georgia to survey the thinning crop. Mac didn't 
recruit tenant farmer Moore, but came up with Lawrence Sabyllia 
Camp, United States District Attorney at Atlanta. After many false 
starts the purge got under way in Maryland with sixty-nine-year-old 
Davey Lewis running against Tydings. In Missouri Senator Clark 
faced three candidates without more than a ripple of worry. In Nevada 
Pat McCarran was unruffled by the opposition of Doctor John Wor- 
den, one-time Socialist turned New Dealer, and Albert Hilliard, son of 
the man who failed to budge Adams in the Colorado race. 

In the House the President was most anxious to defeat Smith of 
Virginia, O'Connor of New York, and Cox of Georgia. Against the 
Virginia Congressman the purgers pitted William E. Dodd, Jr., son of 
the former ambassador to Germany. Governor Price of Virginia told 
me Dodd hadn't a prayer. I had a conference with Corcoran, Keenan, 
Lowell Mellett, and Charles Michelson of the Democratic National 
Committee. Corcoran and Mellett were enthusiastic over Dodd's 
chances. I told them there was no use kidding themselves; their candi- 
date hadn't a chance. Keenan and Michelson agreed with me that 
Dodd was a lost cause. 

The President selected James Fay to run against O'Connor in New 
York. Fay had run against O'Connor a few years before. I saw O'Con- 
nor at this time. He was aware of the campaign being directed against 
him from the White House, but was confident of his own strength. 
He did not believe Fay could be persuaded to run against him. To 
protect himself he went after the Republican nomination as well as 
the Democratic selection. 

At this time the New York situation was complicated by the death 
of Senator Copeland. The good doctor, who had sent chills up and 
down the spines of his colleagues after the death of Joseph T. Robin- 
son when he took the Senate floor to say he could see the mark of 
death on the brow of many of his colleagues, was unable to see the 
sign on his own. I attended his funeral at Suffern, New York, where 
Governor Lehman told me he was going to make an announcement 
of his candidacy for the Copeland vacancy. This was a surprise be- 
cause ordinarily he should have given state leaders the courtesy of a 
conference before making any announcement. Ed Flynn was irked 

140 Jim Farley's story 

and I didn't blame him. The same was true of Frank Kelly of Brooklyn. 

Back in Washington I approached the President with the Lehman 
story by saying I had interesting news. He said he could tell from 
the way I was approaching it, that it was not pleasant. 1 reported my 
brief conversation with the Governor. He said he was sorry that 
Lehman had handled it that way; he said the Governor should have 
had more confidence in us and should have come to us with his de- 
sires. We agreed that there was little we could do beyond seeking to 
persuade Lehman to sit tight and not rock the boat. The Lehman 
announcement was made before any move could be made. On the day 
Lehman announced, the President called me to say that the news was 
broken to him by his colored valet, MacDuffie, as the latter brought 
in his breakfast. MacDuffie said, "Mr. President, I notice that the Gov- 
ernor announced for the Senate before the other man had a chance 
to lie down." The President enjoyed the remark immensely. 

Early in July the President left on his western trip, stopping in Ken- 
tucky to do his best for Senator Barkley. Before he left, the President 
delivered a "fireside" chat on one of Washington's warmest nights, 
but the speech had more than enough heat for Democrats, for he 
frankly acknowledged he was out to purge his party. 

"As head of the Democratic party, however, charged with the re- 
sponsibility of carrying out the definitely liberal declaration of princi- 
ples set forth in the 1936 Democratic platform, I feel that I have every 
right to speak in those few instances where there may be a clear issue 
between candidates for a Democratic nomination involving these 
principles, or involving a clear misuse of my own name, 

"Do not misunderstand me, I certainly would not indicate a pref- 
erence in a state primary merely because a candidate, otherwise liberal 
in outlook, had conscientiously disagreed with me on any single issue. 
I would be far more concerned about the general attitude of a candi- 
date toward present day problems and his own inward desire to get 
practical needs attended to in a practical way. We all know that 
progress may be blocked by outspoken reactionaries and also by those 
who say 'yes' to a progressive objective, but who always find some 
reason to oppose any proposal to gain that objective. I call that type 
of candidates 'yes, but' fellow." 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 141 

There was more about Copperheads and the campaign of defeatism 
against the President, Congressmen, and Senators. On the whole, how- 
ever, he found that the Seventy-fifth Congress had done better than 
any Congress between the end of the World War and the spring of 
1933 even though it had failed him on the Supreme Court and reor- 
ganization. There was more, as I said, but the fact that he had been 
won over to the purge wholeheartedly was enough for me. I prepared 
to go to Alaska with Eddie Roddan and Ambrose O'Connell, where I 
hoped it would be cooler. As I surveyed the coming primaries, cer- 
tain that the purgers were headed for trouble, I wondered if Alaska 
was far enough. 

In Covington, the irrepressible "Happy" Chandler plumped him- 
self into the President's automobile between Roosevelt and Barkley 
although he knew the President had come to throw the weight of his 
favor in the scales for the Senate's Majority Leader. Not even after 
the President had declared he had no doubt that Chandler would make 
a good Senator but . . . was the smile tightened on "Happy's" face. 
That night the President, from the rear platform of his train, pulled 
the rug from underneath the Governor by praising Senator M. M. 
Logan for standing "square like a rock" when Chandler came to the 
White House with a proposal that Logan be made a federal judge, 
so that Chandler could go to the Senate, Logan and the President had 
refused "to traffic in judicial appointments," said Logan, who also 
spoke. The President's Special left Kentucky a few minutes later, cer- 
tain that the day had been saved for Barkley; and so it developed. 

In Oklahoma Senator Thomas was called "my old friend." In Texas 
the President caused Senator Tom Connally's face to drop into his lap 
when he announced from the rear platform at Wichita Falls that he 
had offered Governor Allred a federal judgeship. Connally was not 
consulted on the appointment. Neither was Garner, who had a candi- 
date and did not greet his chief during the latter's visit. In Colorado, 
Roosevelt gave Adams the silent treatment. In Nevada, McCarran, 
marked for the same treatment, maneuvered skillfully to turn a Roose- 
velt reception at Carlin into a rally for himself. McAdoo was hailed 
into the "old friend" tribe at Los Angeles. All this made interesting 
reading in Alaska. From San Diego the President embarked on a fish- 

142 Jim Farley's story- 

ing trip down the west coast through the Panama Canal and to a dock 
at Pensacola, Florida. On his way to Washington he stopped off at 
Athens, Georgia, to accept an honorary degree at the University of 
Georgia, where he avoided politics. He more than made up for the 
omission the next day at Barnesville. 

A goodly crowd heard him refer to George, who was on the speak- 
ers' platform along with his opponent, Camp, as "my old friend" and 
then proceed to excommunicate the senior Senator from his party. 
George was uncrushed. He reached over to take the President's hand, 
expressing regret that the Chief Executive had seen fit to attack his 
standing in the party and accepting the challenge. George reported 
that the President accepted this gesture with, "Let's always be friends." 
And George was sure he heard him add, "God bless you, Walter." 

I did not see the President until August 25 when I went up to the 
family home at Hyde Park. I had talked to him on the phone August 
20, when I mentioned the victory Worth Clark had won over Senator 
Pope, who had the White House blessing (which was rapidly becom- 
ing a kiss of death) . After the call I advised Clark, also by phone, to 
send the President a wire and letter explaining his vote in the House 
on different measures, telling him I thought it would help and might 
eliminate the possibility of Pope's entry into the field as an independ- 
ent in the election. Such a move by Pope would certainly bring a split 
in the party in Idaho, which I was determined to avoid. 

At the family estate I had lunch with the President, Mrs. Roosevelt, 
Mrs. James Roosevelt, Jr., Mrs. Ellen Woodward, and four or five 
women who were regional WPA directors. In the evening we had 
dinner at the home of Mrs. James Roosevelt, sister-in-law of the Presi- 
dent. In the afternoon we took a drive to the retreat the President was 
building for himself. We had a long conversation in his study. 

"Jim, why don't you run for Governor?" he began. "Now, hold on 
a minute." This cut short an interruption he saw was coming. "I'm 
sure you can be elected. You know anything can happen in 1940 and 
I think you ought to take the chance and run for Governor now. You 
would make a good governor, Jim. And by taking the proper posi- 
tion in relation to power, electric light, and utility interests; and urg- 
ing reorganization of the government, eliminating towns, and cutting 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 143 

municipal costs; and getting down overhead expenses of government, 
you could go a long way, Jim. You could become a very positive gov- 
ernor and get the proper background for 1940." 

"Frankly, I'm not interested in 1940," I said. "I can't afford to be 

"A lot of other people are interested in you for 1940, Jim; and I'm 
not sure whether as Postmaster General and Democratic National 
Chairman you have sufficient background to be nominated and elected 

'The White House is the least of my troubles," I told him. "I just 
can't think of it, even though the governorship might be a step in that 
direction. The plain fact is that I have reached the age in life where I 
should be thinking of myself and my family." 

"The governorship might not be as expensive as you think, to say 
nothing of the White House," he said. 

"Regardless of the money involved, Bess would not want to go to 
Washington even if you gave her the Capitol," I Said. "And she has no 
use for Albany." 

"The social life isn't so strenuous," he said. "There are only three 
dinners during the year one for the Court of Appeals, one to the 
Cabinet, and one more. I'm speaking of Albany, of course. And then 
it's necessary to be up there only one afternoon a week to see callers, 
who occasionally drop in around tea time. The governor's wife can 
devote as much or as little time to social life as she wishes." 

"Boss, there just isn't any use in talking further about this," I said. 
"As much as I would like to be Governor I just can't do it. Let's forget 
it for once and for all." 

"Well, if you feel that way . . ." He left the sentence unfinished 
and assumed an injured look. 

In a discussion of the political situation, I attempted to persuade him 
to make a swing around the country in behalf of Democratic candidates 
after the primaries. He put me off saying if he went into one state he 
would have to go into another. 

In our mention of Kentucky he was furious over the conduct of 
Chandler, because the irrepressible "Happy" had bowed to the right 
and left, acknowledging applause of the crowd when he drove with 

144 J Farley's story 

the President and Barkley to the Latonia Race Track. I was surprised 
to find the President feeling so deeply about homage he felt was his. 

The President reported he had made up his mind to put Harry Hop- 
kins in as Secretary of Commerce when Roper submitted his resigna- 
tion. He wanted to know if it would be all right to name Louis Johnson 
Secretary of the Navy in case anything happened to Claude Swan- 
son. He said he had not removed the ailing Swanson because the Secre- 
tary and his wife were without income other than that he had as a 
Cabinet officer. 

The defeats followed in the next week. In South Carolina "Cotton 
Ed" Smith had little trouble winning renomination. The President 
had a one-sentence comment, "It takes a long, long time to build the 
past up to the present," In California "Dear Mac," Senator McAdoo, 
was soundly trounced by Sheridan Downey and his pension program. 
The President accepted Downey as a liberal. As National Chairman 
I offered Downey election support. 

That week end the President, bloody but unbowed, set out to do 
battle in Maryland in behalf of Lewis against Tydings. On September 
4, 1938, we motored down to Morgantown, Maryland, with candi- 
date Lewis and Governor Nice riding with the President. I rode with 
Senator F. Ryan Duffy of Wisconsin. That night was the only night 
I ever spent on board the presidential yacht Potomac, except the night 
we went down to Jefferson Island for the harmony meeting after the 
Court fight, 

The next day, Labor Day, the President delivered what he termed 
a "sermon" on the courthouse lawn at Denton, eastern shore home of 
Congressman T. Alan Goldsborough. The President pointed an ac- 
cusing finger at Tydings as one of "those in public life who quote the 
golden rule, but take no steps to bring it closer." Lewis beamed. 

"It's a bust," I confided to reporters. 

On September 8, I received a phone call from Miss Le Hand re- 
porting the President was in low spirits because of the illness of his 
son Jimmy, who was suffering from a stomach ulcer. She suggested 
I call around 5: 30 that afternoon, which I did, I inquired about Jimmy's 
health, and he confessed himself upset over it. Otherwise he was in a 
good frame of mind and asked about the Maryland situation. I said 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 145 

it was bad, noting that those supporting Lewis against Tydings had 
been unable to raise money because those from whom they might get 
money were not in sympathy with what was being done there. 

That night I called Vice President Garner to suggest he wire the 
President about Jimmy's health. He said he would do so and then 
asked, "How do things look?" 

"All depends on which side you're looking from," I countered. 
"From your side and mine the whole situation is most aggravating. 
I've gone through a number of hectic weeks, but am doing my best to 
keep my feet on the ground." 

"I think the Boss is making a great mistake," he said. "Don't you? " 

"I agree with you one hundred per cent," I answered. 

"Are you still a Democrat?" he asked. 

"Yes, and I have my flag flying," I replied. "After my church, my 
family, and my country, the party comes next." 

"That's the way I feel about it," he said. 

"And after the primaries are over, I'm going to try to put the pieces 
of the party together again," I said. 

"More power to you," he exclaimed. "Remember me to the family 
and God bless you." 

"Thanks and my best to Mrs. Garner." 

On the night of September 13, 1938, 1 called the President at Roches- 
ter, Minnesota, and, after inquiring about the condition of Jimmy, who 
had undergone an operation, I reported that the Maine election was 
disappointing in showing Republican gains and that Maryland had 
come out even worse than we expected. Tydings was renominated by 
a thumping three to one majority. 

"Boss, it's necessary for me to send a congratulatory wire to Tyd- 
ings," I said. 

"I don't know why it should be," he retorted. 

"I think I should at least express hearty congratulations," I persisted. 

"Leave out the 'hearty' and all the other adjectives," he snapped. 

"Boss, I think I ought to send him the same kind of wire I've sent 
to all the other successful primary candidates," I said. 

"Suit yourself but leave me out of it," he closed. 

The next day I had lunch with Secretary Morgenthau who, to my 

146 Jim Farley's story 

surprise, expressed himself very much opposed to the purge. He said 
he had received calls from Hopkins and Corcoran asking him to get in- 
ternal revenue collectors to come out for Fay against O'Connor in New 
York, which he refused to do. This led to a discussion of Hopkins's 
role, and I said I was convinced that the President would like to run 
him in 1940, but it just was not possible to do so. He said the President 
was very fond of Harry. The same day I saw Jesse Jones on his return 
from Europe. I kidded him about the endorsement of the Texas con- 
vention of Garner, rather than Jones, for the Presidency. After some 
banter I told him I was sure Garner did not want the nomination him- 
self but was willing to take the delegation so that he could swing it 
any way he wanted to go in the 1940 convention. Jones agreed with 
me. Jesse was very much opposed to the purges and, like Henry, felt 
that they would be harmful to the President in the next Congress. 

That week the purge campaign blew up completely. In Georgia 
first returns put Camp in third place and he never got out of it. George 
won and anti-New Deal Eugene Talmadge was second. In Colorado, 
Adams was nominated without opposition. In Connecticut Lonergan 
was renominated by the Democratic state convention. Of those marked 
for purging only Representative O'Connor still was to face the voters. 
Of others so marked, Senators Gillette, Smith, Tydings, George, Van 
Nuys, Clark, McCarran, Adams, and Lonergan had all come through 
unscathed. Representative Smith won in Virginia and Representative 
Cox in Georgia. Along the line the President suffered minor rebuffs. 
His victories Barkley, Pepper, Thomas, and others were not in- 
volved in the purge. 

When the Georgia results were in I was asked by reporters to com- 
ment on the primaries. 

"Well, they are about over now," I said. 

"Did you say, Thank God'?" I was asked. 

"All right, make it Thank God/ " I said and I meant it. 

Although I am not a political philosopher, but one schooled in prac- 
tical politics, let me pause here to point a moral. I knew from the be- 
ginning that the purge could lead to nothing but misfortune, because 
in pursuing his course of vengeance Roosevelt violated a cardinal 
political creed which demanded that he keep out of local matters. 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 147 

Sound doctrine is sound politics. When Roosevelt began neglecting 
the rules of the game, I began to have doubts. When he persisted in 
violating the rules, I lost faith in him. I trace all the woes of the Demo- 
cratic party, directly or indirectly, to this interference in purely local 
affairs. In any political entity voters naturally and rightfully resent 
the unwarranted invasion of outsiders. The attempt to establish a per- 
sonal party, the neglect of party leaders, the assumption of control 
over the judiciary and Congress, and the gratification of personal ambi- 
tion in the third and fourth terms all were the evil fruit of his break- 
ing the rules of the game. Party leadership has its obligations as well 
as its privileges. He should have kept his hands out of regional mat- 
ters; he should have observed the regularity, which is the essence of 
the two-party system, and he should have encouraged other men in 
the party to grow as tall as himself. This is as sound in business and 
labor as it is in politics. 

The end of the month found me at the New York State convention 
in Rochester working to persuade Governor Lehman to reconsider his 
decision to run for the Copeland vacancy and to seek reelection against 
Thomas E. Dewey. In the convention and conferences I assumed the 
responsibility and was in complete charge. Old timers noted it was 
a long time since the state chairman had so dominated a convention. 
Lehman was finally persuaded to accept the nomination but insisted 
on the nomination of Charles Poletti, as Lieutenant Governor, instead 
of M. William Bray. I was in communication with the President dur- 
ing the negotiations. He expressed pleasure at the outcome. Wagner 
and Mead were named for the Senate. I felt we had a strong state ticket. 

In the next few weeks I was busy doing all I could for Democrats 
everywhere. On all sides reports gave cause for concern. I reported 
faithfully to the President. He pitched in to help, avoiding the un- 
purged Democrats, however. On election eve, speaking from his home 
at Hyde Park, he did a stint over the air to elect Democrats who 
would help him carry out his program. 

"If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, 
seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citi- 
zens, fascism and communism aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old line 
Tory Republicans, will grow in strength/' he said. 

148 Jim Farley's story 

In my drive to leave no stone unturned to help put over the ticket, 
I went to Al Smith to ask him to support Lehman. I knew this would 
not only have a salutary effect on the state ticket but would help the 
Democratic cause throughout the country. He said that while his fam- 
ily was going to vote for Lehman and Wagner, he could not offer pub- 
lic support. He said he was very fond of Wagner, that he had roomed 
with him for years. He said he would not change his mind if the Gov- 
ernor were to make a personal appeal. 

During an hour's chat in ATs office, he said he never had any feeling 
about my activity in behalf of Roosevelt, saying there was nothing 
else I could have done or should have done except follow my judg- 
ment. He revealed he never expected to be nominated in Chicago in 
1932, especially after the two-thirds rule was invoked. He said he had 
no feeling against Roosevelt personally, but could not agree with many 
New Deal policies or with a lot of things that were going on with his 
knowledge or acquiescence. 

Election night I was at my offices in the Biltmore. From the first 
it was evident that the tide was ebbing and it was a question of how far 
out the Democrats would ride. In New York the governorship was nip 
and tuck with Lehman finally squeezing out ahead by over 68,000 
votes. Mead and Wagner both rode through. But elsewhere there was 
little to rejoice about. The Republicans won 81 House seats, 8 in the 
Senate, and 1 1 governorships. It was a great turnover, but the Demo- 
crats were still comfortably in control During the long night I spoke 
several times to the President. He was surprised at the extent of the 
sweep, far more surprised than I was. He was by no means stunned, 
however. I joked with him about defeat of some of his New Dealers. 
He took it well enough. It is not in my nature to cry over spilt milk, 
so I found what humor I could in the situation, remarking that while 
it was a defeat, it was still far from final and we had two years to build 
up the party. The President said that he had expected to lose one Sena- 
tor and perhaps sixteen Representatives, but was not prepared for a 

That was his public face. On November 11, 1938, he let down his 
hair at a Cabinet meeting. The session opened with a discussion of the 

Purge failure and New Deal rout 149 

foreign situation. Politics were not discussed until the President reached 
me in going down the line of members of his official family. 

"Have you got anything to say?" he asked me almost accusingly. 

"No, sir," I answered. "Nothing in particular." 

"Well, I've been giving a lot of time to the study of the election re- 
turns and I find they demonstrate the result around the country was 
due in every case to local conditions," he declared challengingly. "Take 
Massachusetts our losses were due to Curley. The people didn't want 
him back as Governor so we lost all down the line." 

Everyone at the table nodded as he seemed to demand some expres- 
sion by the vigor of his statements. 

"It was the race track scandal in Rhode Island," he went on. "And 
in Connecticut it was the Merritt Parkway squabble. In New Jersey 
defeat could be attributed to Mayor Hague. In Pennsylvania it was 
brought about by the trouble within the party. And in Ohio Davey 
was to blame." 

I interjected a note of agreement on the last state, 

"So it goes everywhere you look into the real causes/* the President 
continued. "In Michigan the defeat of Murphy was brought about by 
the Dies Committee and its sensationalism in investigating the sit-down 
strikes. Murphy had not recovered from the loss he suffered in the 

"The Minnesota defeat was caused by the opposition of the 
churches. They were aroused by reports that Governor Benson had 
the support of people with Communist leanings." 

"Also Benson had three or four Jewish assistants and they were re- 
sponsible for giving him advice that hurt him," Wallace put in. 

"In the farm belt the result was due to farm prices," the President 
went on. There was a general nodding in agreement. 

"We lost the small businessmen in small towns and every effort 
should be made to get them back for the next campaign," Wallace said. 

"In Iowa the Maytag strike hurt Krashel," the President said. "And 
in Wisconsin the Democrats voted Republican to get rid of La Fol- 

No explanation was offered for Wyoming or Colorado, where we 

150 Jim Farley's story 

lost. Harry Hopkins sat in on the Cabinet meeting, but did not partici- 
pate in this phase of the discussion. I debated asking him to discuss the 
contribution of the purge to the defeat, but thought better of it. There 
was nothing to be gained by churning up unnecessary hates. I could 
afford to swallow the injuries done me by the purgers, if the attempt 
to build up a personal machine was to be abandoned and we were 
returning to the building up of the Democratic party. However, I 
was soon to find that the White House crowd looked on the purge as 
a mere training lap and they were off to a new start in whooping it 
up for a third term. From that time on the President began to see less 
and less of me, as if I were to blame for the defeat I had counseled 
against, and to see more and more of those actually responsible for 
the November rout. My appointments became further and further 
apart. I was no longer consulted on appointments. And I found my- 
self without a voice in political policy. Yet, there was nothing I could 
put a finger on. Outwardly we were as friendly as ever. It was just 
that I found myself outside the White House door. True, it had not 
been slammed in my face, but it was locked and barred nonetheless. 



I NOW COME to the story of the third term. This is not an easy story 
to tell. I shall tell it as fairly to all concerned as I know how. 
Wherever I can, from my voluminous notes, I shall tell in his 
own words how Franklin D. Roosevelt put by third term suggestions 
"every time gentler than the other," then entered on a long period of 
enforced silence, and finally engineered his own nomination. I want 
to be fair to myself, for, had it not been for the man many have credited 
me with putting in the White House, I might have been Vice President 
or even President. I say that without rancor because I believe what has 
happened to me has happened for the best. I am now providing for 
my family, which I could not have done if I had remained in public 
life to preside over the Senate, or even if my address were now the 
White House. 

As a matter of cold fact, I have only one regret about public service 
and this is th^it I did not participate in the war effort. I offered to 
forego politics at the outbreak of the war to devote myself to organiz- 
ing the nation's productive capacity. I was confident I could do a good 
job, but my offer was ignored. Again, after Pearl Harbor, I volun- 
teered to serve in any capacity where I might be of Value, but my 
opposition to the third term evidently induced the President to turn 
his thumbs down on me. This action of the President hurt me deeply. 
After all, I had a right to serve my country and, in all modesty, I could 
have been useful The loss of political advancement has not troubled 
me, as no one is more aware of my shortcomings for the Presidency 
than I am. I would have tried my best had the office fallen to me, but 
my best might not have been enough. 

I have been widely criticized for remaining with Roosevelt as long 
as I did. Let me say I had faith in the man. This was shattered in 1937 
and 1938, and I made up my mind that I was going to carry on into 
1940 for the country and the party. I felt I could be helpful. I also felt 


152 Jim Farley's story 

I owed it to those who had confidence in me to remain as long as I 
might be of help. 

The third term issue began simmering almost before the second was 
assured in the 1936 landslide election. A presidential denial of third 
term ambitions did little to discourage the political hot stove league 
which runs the year round. In June, 1937, the question was dramati- 
cally thrust before the nation at a White House press conference when 
Fred W. Perkins of the Pittsburgh Press asked, "Mr. President, would 
you care to comment on Governor Earle's suggestion that you run for 
a third term?" 

"The weather is very hot," the President said laughingly. 

"Mr. President, would you tell us now if you would accept a third 
term? " spoke up Robert Post of the New York Times, who was to meet 
death heroically as a war correspondent on an air mission over Ger- 

"Bob Post should put on a dunce cap and stand in the corner," was 
the presidential answer which was to become celebrated in stories and 

"Mr. President, did your statement last winter fully cover the third 
term situation?" came from the undaunted Perkins. 

"Fred Perkins should don a dunce cap likewise," he retorted. 

This incident provoked more third term speculation than it quieted. 
While some professed to see in it a renunciation as final as William T. 
Sherman's "If nominated I will not accept; if elected I will not serve," 
it was more widely interpreted as a nimble evasion or colorful post- 
ponement of the issue. 

From the election of 1936 on, Roosevelt was concerned with his 
succession. After the Democratic reverses in the 1938 election, he be- 
came increasingly interested in the 1940 Democratic national conven- 
tion and the presidential campaign to follow. He saw his successor in 
every man to achieve stature in the country but found each one want- 
ing in White House qualifications. He became more critical of others 
as the campaign approached until, at length, he let himself be per- 
suaded there was only one man possessing both the qualifications and 
the experience necessary to administer the nation. 

Men are not, as a rule, nominated for the Presidency because they 

Third term beginnings 153 

are the outstanding men in the party from the standpoint of ability and 
experience. Many fine men, who would have made great Presidents, 
could never be nominated. This was true in the past and it is true today. 
National conventions of both parties usually pick a man who is con- 
sidered the most available from a vote-getting point of view with a 
secondary emphasis upon his competency as President if elected. 

At the end of 1938, it appeared that the Democratic nominee for 
President would be Garner, Hull, or myself. This was the verdict of 
many polls, the consensus of political leaders, and the judgment of 
political writers. Of the three, I had reason to believe Roosevelt would 
have preferred to see me nominated. This does not mean I was his 
choice, except in that group and at that particular time. I don't think 
he would have taken Garner under any circumstances. I think he 
would have preferred Hull to Garner, although he believed Hull would 
have made a poor Chief Executive because Hull, he said, pondered long 
and moved slowly. He objected to Garner's conservatism. As for my- 
self, I am sure he felt my religion and my background would be a 
handicap if I were the nominee. I can perhaps best give the picture of 
that period as it looked to me, by quoting from a memorandum I dic- 
tated at the beginning of 1939: 

"I am satisfied in my own mind that the President will not be a 
voluntary candidate for reelection, but might be willing to listen to 
argument. I don't know if he has anyone in mind, definitely, to succeed 
him. If he had to make a selection at the moment, I believe he would 
select Harry Hopkins, Robert Jackson or Frank Murphy, in the order 

"But a situation can develop in 1940 whereby the nominee will be 
either Garner, Hull or Farley, in the order named. There isn't any 
doubt in my mind that if I assist in bringing about Garner's or Hull's 
nomination, I can have second place with either man, if I want it. I 
think the President, if he doesn't take the nomination and run himself, 
is going to be placed in the position of choosing among those named. 
But Roosevelt is a very strong character, and he might insist on naming 
his successor." If a choice had to be made, I am sure he would have 
selected Hull. 

Following the 1938 Congressional election I wrote to Democratic 

154 J^ m Farley's story 

leaders throughout the country. I called on every county chairman to 
write and give me his reasons for the defeat. I received hundreds of 
letters, which I passed on to the President. The reasons they gave for 
the Democratic reversals were: 

1. Criticism of the administration's spending program. 

2. The battle between the AFL and the CIO. 

3. Widespread feeling that the CIO exerted tremendous influence 
on the administration. 

4. Low farm prices. 

5. Dissatisfaction of WPA workers with their rate of pay. 

6. Public dissatisfaction with the WPA program. 

7. Discontent among those receiving Federal bounty in the form of 
loans when called upon to make payments. 

8. The protest of business large and small against regimentation. 

9. The business unrest created by the administration in its regula- 
tory programs. 

10. The continued pounding of the New Deal in the press. 

With all this information in his hands, the President nonetheless per- 
sisted in viewing the adverse results of the 1938 election as due in every 
case to local conditions. While I was certain that deep in his heart he 
knew better, he never admitted it to me. 

I did not see him alone after the election until November 15, 1938. 
Before going to the White House for dinner I had a visit from Henry 
Wallace, who was very much disturbed about the New Deal. He ex- 
pressed the belief, which surprised me, that the President was leaning 
too much to the left and expressed the hope that we could persuade 
him to do differently. I told him I was having dinner at the White 
House and would talk to the President. I gathered Wallace had done 
so without effect. 

At the White House I found the President preoccupied and some- 
what distant. He talked less than he had at any time I had been with 
him. He ate slowly. He kept looking about as though he would wel- 
come an interruption. I waited for his mood to pass; but when it did 
not, I carried the conversational ball. 

"Boss, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to offer a little advice," I 
began. "I just want to give you an idea or two, based on the way things 

Third term beginnings 155 

look from my corner and I hope you won't misunderstand me." 

"Shoot, Jim," he invited. 

"Well, I think the thing for you to do when you come back from 
Warm Springs is to get together with members of Congress. I'm speak- 
ing particularly of the Senators and Congressmen who were opposed 
to you on the Supreme Court, wages and hours, reorganization, and 
the like. . . ." 

"Fd like to see them all . . ." he interrupted. 

"Wait!" I urged. "Hear me out. I don't want you to make up your 
mind now. Just think the matter over. Fd like to talk this over in detail 
with you later on. Right now Fd like to have you think over the neces- 
sity of securing a friendly attitude toward you and your program in 
Congress. I am convinced that the present condition is detrimental to 
you and to the party. I don't know what you are being told by others, 
but I think you ought to know this." 

He was silent. 

"That's all I want to say at this time. I want you to know how I 
feel. I think the situation can be corrected and forgotten, if you take 
the initiative. I would like to see you avoid any arguments with Con- 
gress over patronage. Such wrangles could only bring you a loss of 

"I just won't go along with Carter Glass on any appointment in 
Virginia." He was almost peevish. "And I won't go along with Walter 
George in Georgia. That's final." 

"Well, then you just won't get any appointments by the Senate that 
Glass and George label personally obnoxious." 

'We'll see about that," he said with a determined thrust of his chin. 
"I don't anticipate any trouble from Congress. Reorganization is now 
in the lap of Congress and I am willing to let the farm bill go along as 
it is to see whether it will work out." 

"I have one thing more on my mind in connection with Congress 
and that is the Vice President," I said. "I think Jack Garner could be 
most helpful to you. He's looked up to by everyone in Congress and 
he could do you a lot of good. Fd see him as soon as he gets back and 
have a long talk, if I were you." 

"Yes," he said vaguely. I knew from his tone that he did not have too 

156 Jim Farley's story 

much confidence in Jack and that he felt that Garner was opposed to 
his legislation. While he did not say so, I was fully aware he still blamed 
Garner for the final defeat of the Court bill, when the facts were there 
was nothing Garner could do but throw in the presidential towel, 

We talked about a successor to Cummings, and a successor to Roper, 
and a possible successor to Woodring. Roosevelt could purge his own 
Cabinet if he couldn't purge Congress. Even so, he was proceeding 
most slowly about the shifts, being one who was forever putting off 
anything distasteful. 

I did not see the President again for more than a month, except at 
Cabinet meetings. During this period the situation was growing more 
critical in Europe. Renewed persecution of Jews in Germany by 
Adolf Hitler brought Ambassador Hugh Wilson home for a consul- 
tation which proved to be a recall. William Phillips was summoned 
home at the same time from Rome. Cabinet meetings were solemn 
considerations of the Rome-Berlin axis, larded with gloomy predic- 
tions of what the Tokyo partner might do. I did not keep notes of these 
fateful meetings, feeling that what was said concerned the country 
and the world so deeply that it should not be carried from the room. 
While I regret that this chapter of history, a most important chapter, 
is missing from my files, I would probably not make the notes if I had 
it all to do over again. 

While I contributed to the discussion, feeling that war was close, I 
realized that the conduct of international affairs was in the province of 
the White House and State Department and I did not want to run 
the danger that my notes, if I kept them, might get out and possibly 
embarrass my country. 

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1938, 1 talked with Arthur Krock 
of the New York Times, who was still engaged in controversy with 
Harry Hopkins over the remark, "We will spend and spend, and tax 
and tax, and elect and elect." The remark, carried by Krock in a Wash- 
ington report, was widely quoted by the opposition. Hopkins had de- 
nied it and was still denying it weeks after the election. Krock told 
me the story of the remark and how he got it. I must respect his con- 
fidence, but I am satisfied it was made as quoted. I have every reason to 
believe it was said by Hopkins to Max Gordon and at least one other 

Third term beginnings 157 

person at the Yonkers, New York, Empire Race Track in August of 

On December i, 1938, 1 had luncheon with Wendell Willkie, presi- 
dent of Commonwealth and Southern Corporation. In a general dis- 
cussion of the political situation, Willkie professed great admiration 
for the President and his program. He said he disagreed with him only 
on the power question, where Willkie felt Roosevelt was being led 
astray by Thomas G. Corcoran and Frank McNinch of the National 
Power Policy Committee. Willkie told me he was a firm Democrat and 
had cast his vote for Governor Lehman and the rest of the Democratic 

Early in December the New York election had a most interesting 
aftermath, which offers a pertinent sidelight on the Roosevelt char- 
acter. The close race made by Thomas E. Dewey against Governor 
Lehman clearly made the former a contender for the Republican nom- 
ination in 1940. George Holmes of the International Neivs Service, 
president of the Gridiron Club, invited the New Yorker to deliver 
the opposition speech at the select gathering of newspapermen, an 
occasion which blends humor and gravity in skits on domestic and 
foreign affairs. When Roosevelt heard that he was expected to meet 
Dewey in the political debate, which is a part of every Gridiron dinner, 
he first employed persuasion and then exerted pressure on Holmes to 
withdraw the invitation. When Holmes rightfully refused, Roosevelt 
said he would not speak at the dinner. I was drafted. Dewey made a 
bright, graceful address. I did not do so well. I should have spoken 
extemporaneously, instead of attempting to read a witty speech, which 
is not my style. 

On December 16, 1938, the Cabinet meeting was devoted to the 
foreign situation and the resignation of Dan Roper. The President was 
most generous in his remarks about his parting servant, paying tribute 
to Dan's long and valuable service to him and the administration. He 
expressed the hope that Dan would still remain a member of the family 
even though he would not be sitting at the Cabinet table. Homer Cum- 
mings, soon to go himself, paid a warm and graceful tribute to his as- 
sociate. Dan had an appreciative word for everyone in a friendly f are- 



Two DAYS later I found the President extremely cordial and 
pleasant in a luncheon conference at his desk. 
"I saw Jack Garner as you suggested, Jim," he began, "but 
I'm afraid we didn't get anywhere. Jack is very much opposed to the 
spending program; he's against the tax program, and he's against the 
relief program. He seems to be pretty much against everything and 
he hasn't got a single concrete idea to offer on any of these programs. 
It's one thing to criticize but something else again to offer solutions." 

I had talked to Garner about the visit. Garner said he had urged a 
friendlier attitude toward Congress and had spoken rather plainly 
about opposition feeling on the administration program. From the two 
accounts I was satisfied that, while the visit was pleasant, the two did 
not get anywhere because they held decidedly different views. 

We discussed a number of appointments. When I brought up the 
name of Franklin B. Lane, son of the Secretary of the Interior in Wil- 
son's Cabinet, he waved his hand in dismissal and said, "Nothing do- 
ing." He gave no explanation. The President was a nurser of grudges. 
Those about him felt that his coolness toward Bernard Baruch was 
due to the fact that Baruch, as head of the powerful War Industries 
Board in the first World War, had been rather casual with Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

In turning to foreign affairs, Roosevelt discussed the increased per- 
secution of Jews in Germany. He said the international situation was 
most delicate, but he thought it could be handled by a show of firmness. 

"Have you had any conversation with Ambassador Kennedy?" I 

"Oh, yes, we've had a very pleasant conversation, without any fric- 
tion. Of course, Joe is very definitely of the opinion that we will have 
war in Europe and everything will go to pot. He's very gloomy." 

"Things don't look any too well over there to me and I'm no expert," 


More rumblings 159 

I said. "Russia's the big question mark to me. She can make war or 
keep the peace. By the way, have you made up your mind on the am- 
bassadorship to Moscow?" 

"No, I haven't got around to that yet," he answered. "I'm going 
to wait until Hull returns from the Lima conference." 

I brought up the name of a prominent lawyer for the vacancy on 
the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. To my surprise 
the President waved dismissal. 

"I will not appoint a Jew on the District Court of Appeals," he said. 
"I can't do it. There is a strong feeling throughout the country, a feel- 
ing against the Jews." 

"Well, you don't have to decide now," I said. "We can let the mat- 
ter go over until we have more time to discuss it." 

"That's all right with me," he ended the matter. 

I spent an hour and a half with the President. At the end of the meet- 
ing we made plans to continue our discussion a week later at dinner. 
On the evening of December 28, 1938, 1 went to the White House and 
found the President's mother, his half-brother's widow, and Daniel 
Roosevelt, a cousin, in the hall. While we chatted, Mrs. Roosevelt came 
up and said the President was waiting for me in his oval study. There 
we had dinner. 

I found the President looking tired and drawn. He said he had not 
been feeling well, but felt he was improving. I never saw him in such 
good humor, so I decided to let down my hair on the election. He took 
no off ense at my remarks, nor did he sulk as he had before. He was 
more open-minded on the defeat than I had ever seen him. 

"Boss, for a long time I have wanted to give you my observations 
on the election and I feel there's no time like the present," I began. "I 
don't know whether you agree with me or whether you want to agree 
with me, but I would be less than frank if I did not tell you that the 
results gave very definite signs of dissatisfaction with the Federal ad- 
ministration, although not with you personally. You axe personally 
as popular as ever, if not more so. If the election were held tomorrow, 
it would be another case of 'As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.' " 

He laughed, puffed at his cigarette and quoted, "You may fire when 
ready, Gridley." 

160 Jim Farley's story 

"There are several fundamental factors, which in my judgment were 
responsible for the results," I continued. "Whether we agree or not 
there is a definite feeling against the spending policy and the result- 
ing increase in the national debt. Whether we like it or not, there is 
resentment and it had its effect at the polls. The supposed influence of 
the CIO on the administration and I say 'supposed' advisedly had 
its effect, particularly with farmers and small businessmen. This espe- 
cially so because Frances Perkins is being tied in with the CIO. I don't 
say she is, but that's the impression." 

"I hope that it may be possible to effect a reconciliation among the 
labor groups and clarify the situation," he said. "God knows, it needs 

'Then there's the WPA," I continued. "Those on the rolls are dis- 
satisfied because they are not getting more, and the rest of the public 
feels they are getting too much. Nobody is satisfied and as a result we 
lost votes. I don't know whether the name should be changed or not, 
but something ought to be done." 

"Yes," he agreed, "there's a lot of dissatisfaction there. I think a 
lot of it is due to the supervisors, about whom there are many com- 
plaints. The situation is something like the feeling against draft boards 
in the war." 

"Well, I think a lot of our trouble comes from the type of person 
on relief," I said. "In every section of the country there are those 
who might best be described as the ne'er-do-wells, who never worked 
steadily in their lives and who are now drawing a larger monthly wage 
from WPA than they ever did. Most of these are lazy and would not 
work regularly if they could. And if they did they would not do a good 
job. They are not desirable anywhere." 

"That's so," he acknowledged, "We have that kind in Dutchess 
County and even in Hyde Park." 

"I admit I don't have the answer to the situation, or even a sugges- 
tion as to how the lazy can be sifted from the deserving needy," I said. 
"Right now I was merely making an observation as to the cause of our 
defeat. I have no remedy at the moment. And to continue the analysis, 
there has been widespread dissatisfaction with farm prices from cotton 
in the South to grains in the Middle West and cattle in the West." 

More rumblings 161 

"I know, I know," he said. "If the Supreme Court had not ruled 
out the AAA, the farm problem, particularly in relation to cotton, 
would have been solved. We were on the way to solving this when 
the Court threw a monkey wrench in the machinery." 

"I can't set myself up as a farm expert, but I have been interested 
in the situation because it affects the country," I said. "I have talked 
to many people. Now as to cotton, Garner feels . . ." 

"Jack wants to throw all the cotton into the market," he broke in. 
"Well, you just can't do that. If surplus cotton is dumped out on a 
sick market, it will drive the price of cotton down no matter what is 
done. This will have the effect of breaking down Hull's reciprocal 
trade treaty program and then where are you?" 

"I have not studied the situation to the extent that I have any firm 
opinion," I said. "I am merely gathering information. I hope that some- 
thing can be done about farm prices or we will be face to face with 
trouble in the next election." 

We switched to a consideration of appointments. I had a long list 
of judges, marshals, collectors of internal revenue, collectors of cus- 
toms, and other posts. 

"I want to take up each case individually as they come up," Roose- 
velt said. "I want to talk particularly about the collector of customs 
in Savannah, who worked for" George. I don't want him reappointed." 

"I think that's just foolish," I said. "That's all water over the dam." 

"I won't appoint him again," he affirmed. 

"What about the judgeship in Virginia?" I asked. "I don't need to 
remind you that Glass won't confirm just anyone you might appoint. 
That is, he will block confirmation of someone not agreeable to him." 

"Then I'll appoint my selection's law partner and if the latter is 
not confirmed, I'll appoint the cousin of the man originally selected or 
the cousin of the second choice and so on," he declared. "I am not go- 
ing to let Glass or Byrd make any appointments in Virginia. And that 
goes for a lot of Senators." 

I saw his chin was all the way out, so I decided not to pursue the 
subject. I shifted the conversation by asking, "What about the Su- 
preme Court?" 

"I'm havig a difficult time there," he said. "Felix Frankfurter 

1 62 Jim Farley's story 

wants to get on in the worst way. Some months ago I had to tell him 
at Hyde Park that I just couldn't appoint him for many reasons. In 
the first place, the appointment has to go west. In the second place, 
I told Felix that I could *not appoint him in view of the anti-Semitic 
feeling. I couldn't appoint another Jew, but if Brandeis should resign 
or die, I told Frankfurter I would appoint him that same day without 

"What about Sam Bratton out in New Mexico?" I asked. "That's 
far enough west." 

"Bratton belongs to a judicial school of thought that ought not to 
be represented on the bench," was his comment. 

"You could give some consideration to Joe O'Mahoney of Wyo- 
ming," I suggested. 

"Black has dissented many times since I put him on the bench, but 
his dissents would be a drop in the bucket to what O'Mahoney would 
do if he were on the Court," he smiled. 

"What about Burt Wheeler of Montana?" I asked. 

"I won't appoint Wheeler." There was no smile on his lips or in his 

(Later as I was leaving the White House, Mrs. Roosevelt said she 
would not be surprised if the President appointed Wheeler "or some- 
one like him.") 

"What about Harold Stevens of the Court of Appeals for the Dis- 
trict of Columbia?" I persisted in my questioning. 

"I have given considerable thought to him, but I just can't make that 
appointment because it doesn't seem to be the right one." 

After some discussion of lesser appointments, the President reached 
into a drawer of his desk and brought out a draft of his message to Con- 
gress. He read excerpts at length from one of the most memorable of 
his annual reports on the state of the Union. In the quiet of the study 
I heard him read, for the first time, his warning of "storm signals from 
across the sea." 

This brought us to a review of the world-shaking events of the clos- 
ing year the annexation of Austria, the partition of Czechoslovakia, 
the Japanese invasion in China, the Spanish Civil War, Germany's 
domination in central and eastern , Europe, We agreed it was not a 

More rumblings 163 

happy picture. He said the answer was adequate defense, amendment 
of neutrality legislation, and serving notice on dictators that "if another 
form of government can present a united front in its attack on a de- 
mocracy, the attack must and will be met by a united democracy." 
The message was well received before a joint session of Congress. 

As I went to my apartment, I made up my mind not to press him on 
appointments lest he get the idea that I was trying to control delega- 
tions and votes. I decided I would make no recommendations and in- 
dicate no preferences, but rather let him do whatever he saw fit. If I 
should start pressing him, I decided, he might get the erroneous idea 
that I was working for myself rather than for him. After all, I was in 
his Cabinet and was not going to use or abuse my post for personal ad- 
vantage, when there were men in the party who had claims above mine. 
Between the opening of Congress and the Jackson Day dinner, Janu- 
ary 7, 1939, the President named Frankfurter to the high Court. The 
appointment came as a complete surprise to me. I checked at the White 
House and learned that it was made just as Black's had been. The Presi- 
dent secured a blank appointment, filled the name in himself, and sent 
it up to Capitol Hill so that the first news of the selection came from 
the reading of the appointment on the floor of the Senate. 

At the Jackson Day dinner, seated between the President and Gar- 
ner, I questioned Roosevelt about his selection, asking if it was made 
because the fellows out west did not measure up to his qualifications. 
He said that was so, but did not elaborate. I did not want to press him 
because I thought he might not want to speak frankly in front of the 
Vice President. There was a lot of good-natured kidding during the 
dinner. In the course of this, Garner, at one point, shook his finger 
at the President. 

"If it were not for your damned Dutch stubbornness," he laughed, 
"we could all do more with Congress. We could handle the Senators 
and the Congressmen. We could get bills passed. We could even get 
that fellow Carter Glass is fighting appointed Federal judge. Then we 
could all go home and go fishing." 

We had to laugh at that. 

"The judgeship isn't all of it," Garner continued. "There is no 
sense to playing with the Governor down there because he won't 

164 Jim Farley's story 

control the delegation in 1940. It will be controlled by the Glass-Byrd 
crowd. They have a machine down there which compares to a large 
city machine in solidarity of organization. It is a 'one man' organiza- 
tion. It was Senator Martin's, then Claude Swanson's, and now it be- 
longs to Glass and Byrd. They are in control and the Governor is not." 

The President said nothing. 

I did not see the President's speech in advance of delivery. He told 
us that he thought Garner and I and the crowd generally would be 
pleased with his speech. We were especially interested in the line, "If 
we Democrats lay for each other now, we can be sure that 1940 is the 
corner where the American people will be laying for us." Later Garner 
confided to me that he crossed his fingers on that remark. I had a hearty 
laugh on that because I was forced to acknowledge that I had mentally 
crossed my fingers at the same time, as I could not help but contrast 
his words with his vehemence against Glass and George a few days 

Without reference to anything in particular, he launched into a 
lengthy discussion of Martin Van Buren in conversation with Garner 
and myself. He said that Van Buren was a smart fellow but a poor 
President; that while he carried out Jackson's policies and wishes, more 
or less, he got into difficulties because he was not running the show 
completely in sympathy with Jackson. With the latter statement it 
became apparent that the President was telling Garner and myself 
that Jackson should have picked someone more in sympathy with him 
than Van Buren, if he was not trying to tell us that Jackson should 
have run again himself. He was trying to point out that the 1940 Demo- 
cratic nominee must be a real liberal, I felt at the time. I also felt the 
President's selection of a liberal would make little difference at the 
convention, because I was sure the delegates would want a real Demo- 
crat to head the ticket and not someone who would run out on the 
party after he ^as elected, like Wallace or Hopkins. 

On January 2, 1939, I had attended the inauguration of Governor 
Lehman at Albany. It was the twelfth inauguration I had attended and 
I found less enthusiasm than at any of the others. The fact that it was 
Lehman's fourth may have accounted for it. On January 11, I at- 
tended the inauguration of Governor Herbert O'Conor at Annapolis, 

More rumblings 165 

where there was much enthusiasm. On the way back I rode with Under 
Secretary of State Welles, who amazed me by stating that affairs had 
been mismanaged, in his opinion. He expressed himself as convinced 
that unless Hull or I should be nominated, the country would be in 
serious trouble. He was very much against the nomination of either 
Hopkins or Wallace, as against the best interests of the party and the 
country. This was the first time he had ever indicated any interest 
in me or in politics as such, and I found it surprising to say the least. 

On January 29, 1939, the day before the President's fifty-seventh 
birthday, I called him from New York to congratulate him on the eve 
of his impending anniversary. I always called him and sent him a con- 
gratulatory message on his birthday, just as I always called him and 
sent him a message on Christmas, New Year's Day, and St. Patrick's 
Day, his wedding anniversary. 

"Thanks for your good wishes, Jim," he said when I called. "To- 
morrow I'm going to be fifty-seven and I guess I'm old enough to 
pack away with Heinz's pickles." 

"Well, I see you've imported fifty-seven varieties of beauty from 
Hollywood," I quipped on the motion picture performers moving 
into Washington for the President's Birthday Ball. 

"They're on my 'must' program for tomorrow," he laughed. "I'm 
going to devote tomorrow to the female stars, but I don't know what 
to do with the male stars." 

"Turn them over to Grace Tully," I suggested. "And you might 
turn the female stars over to Marvin 'The Hunter' Mclntyre." 

He roared with laughter over this play on his secretary's middle 
name Hunter. 

"That's simply grand," he said. "I love it. I'm going to steal it, Jim, 
and pass it off as my own on Mac." 

"You can have it for what it's worth," I said. 

From the first of the year I scarcely saw the President excepr at 
Cabinet meetings, Meantiine, my name was being featured more and 
more, along with those of Garner and Hull, as his successor in 1940. 
From all over the country political leaders came in to pay respects and 
stay to pledge support. Many of these were genuinely friendly and 
earnest. Others were merely building up character with me against 

1 66 Jim Farley's story 

the day when lightning might strike and they would be looking for 
jobs for themselves or their constituents. When he isn't mending 
fences, the average politician is putting up lightning rods. 

Those who came to see me were organization leaders and office hold- 
ers. Governors, Senators, and Congressmen filled up my daily list of 
appointments. There were hordes of newspapermen and a variety of 
federal office holders. All were looking for the answer to 1940. By 
far the majority were out of sympathy with the third term or said they 
were. They held it would be a mistake. My invariable answer was 
that nothing could be said about 1940 until the President spoke and, 
as I saw it, there was no necessity for him to speak until early in 1940. 

At this time I made several long trips, during which I sounded senti- 
ment on the administration and on 1940. Leaders all spoke of the 
chances of Hull, Garner, and myself. In consideration of my posi- 
tion, leaders indicated that my religion might be a factor, but not as 
much as it was against Al Smith because I had broken down a great 
deal of the prejudice against a Roman Catholic. I was pleased to hear 
this. I must confess I was pleased at being considered a presidential 
possibility along with men of the stamp of Garner and Hull. It made 
me feel good to know that the rank and file of the party would support 
me, if I were to be the candidate. I was satisfied I could receive sup- 
port in a number of states, even if I wanted to contest selection of 
either Garner or Hull, which I had no intention of doing. 

At this time Roosevelt was also doing a bit of traveling. He went 
south for the fleet maneuvers and a fishing trip in February. In April 
he went to Warm Springs, partly to recuperate from a persistent cold 
which threw his temperature off normal for weeks, to the concern of 
physicians. He made frequent week-end trips to his family home at 
Hyde Park. In this period he was beset by foreign and domestic 
troubles. On the foreign front, Hitler's partitioning Czechoslovakia 
was an ominous warning; on the domestic front, he was occupied with 
tax legislation, WPA appropriations, the national defense, and the na- 
tional income, and he was concerned with neutrality legislation. 

I did not see him for a chat alone from January until March, although 
I talked to him by phone at least once and took part in Cabinet discus- 
sions. On February 12, 1939, I called him to advise him that New 

More rumblings 167 

York Congressmen and leaders were complaining that he was giving 
most of the city's patronage to Representative Fay who had beaten 
John J. O'Connor. O'Connor was the only member of Congress 
purged by the President. 

"You can just tell them I'm not going to give any patronage to any 
leader who supported O'Connor and that's that," he said. 

"But there are plenty of Congressmen in New York City who went 
along with you and they are annoyed because they feel they are get- 
ting no consideration," I protested. "The situation could go along the 
way it has been going in the city, except that if you feel the patronage 
in Fay's district should not go to the leaders, you could turn it over 
to Fay to handle in any way he wants to." 

"That's not the point," he said. "I don't want to give a single job 
to any leader who was with O'Connor. If some Congressmen are hurt 
by this, it's too bad." 

"I can't argue with you about Fay's district," I tried again, "but I 
would argue about the other districts, particularly where the Congress- 
men have been with you all along." 

"I don't want Curry (John F. Curry, former Tammany Hall leader) 
or his leaders to have any jobs," he said. 

"There are no more Curry leaders," I insisted. "Curry was defeated 
by Jim Dooling and Christy Sullivan succeeded when Dooling died. 
Curry's men are gone," 

"Well, that's the way I feel," he said. "And in view of the trial of 
Jimmy Hines, nothing should be given to the Hines district in the 
way of appointments." 

On March 29, the President called me over to the White House 
where we talked about stamps and patronage and finally about 1940 
politics. At that time the topics intermingled, as was the case with 
stamps. I urged consideration be given to the inclusion of Frances E. 
Willard in the great American series as a friendly gesture to the drys. 

"That's a perfectly wonderful idea, Jim," he said. "The drys might 
be friendlUy disposed toward us if we honored her. I'll give you a 
decision as quickly as I can." 

He asked me about the Legislative Correspondents' dinner at Al- 
bany, particularly after the speeches made" by Lehman, La Guardia, 

1 68 Jim Farley's story 

Al Smith, and District Attorney Dewey. I told him Lehman, La 
Guardia, and Smith did all right in short speeches, but that Dewey 
talked for seventeen minutes and took some pot shots at Republican 
leader Simpson, which I considered unwise from Dewey's point of 
view. I added that I couldn't be fair with Dewey because his attitude 
irked me. 

"That's exactly how I feel about him," the President said. "He's 
arrogant and ambitious. He wants to be President, or thinks he can be." 

"I understand Ed Birmingham, state chairman for Iowa, was in to 
see you," I switched the subject slightly. 

"Yes, he asked me what would have to be done for 1940 and I told 
him it was too early," he answered. "I did tell him that the Democrats 
would have to have a liberal platform and a liberal candidate." 

"Boss, I am constantly being interviewed by newspapermen about 
1940 and I have told them consistently that anyone who made an an- 
nouncement before you have spoken ought to have his head examined." 

"That's right, Jim," he observed. 

"Boss, when you get back, I'll be glad to sit down and discuss the 
1940 situation with you in a general way," I said. "Meanwhile, there 
is nothing to do but let matters take their course." 

"I'll be glad to, Jim," he said. "What do you think of Garner's 

"To be wholly frank, I don't think Jack is a serious candidate at 
this time," I answered. "Naturally, he is flattered by the attention he 
is receiving in the press, but I don't think it has gone to his head. I 
think the people around Garner are more concerned with his candidacy 
than he is. For your information I talked to him recently and he 
brought up, entirely of his own accord, the Presidency. With tears 
in his eyes, he told me he hoped that nothing would happen to you 
so that he would have to take over the reins of the government. I know 
that he was absolutely sincere. He has a very deep affection for you, 

"I'm glad to hear it," he said. "I feel the same way about Garner's 
candidacy that you do. I'm sure Garner is speaking from his heart 
when he says he doesn't want to succeed me." 

On June 7, 1939, 1 was called by the President as I was having dinner 

More rumblings 169 

in my Mayflower Hotel apartment in Washington. He was in the 
friendliest of moods. 

"Jim," he began, "I'd like to have you and Bess join me over the week 
end on the Potomac for a cruise." 

This was the first invitation Mrs. Farley and I had received for a 
cruise aboard the presidential yacht, although I had been in Washing- 
ton for more than six years. But I had to refuse. 

"I'm sorry, Boss, but I agreed a few weeks ago to present a watch to 
Joe McCarthy, manager of the Yankees, in a ceremony at the home 
plate in Yankee Stadium Sunday. I appreciate the invitation a lot, but I 
don't feel I can change my plans at this late date, much as I'd like to." 

"What about the next week end?" he pressed. 

"I have a lot of work cut out for me that week end," I said. "I'm 
going to attend a postal convention in Maine a week from Sunday. 
Maybe I can pull the state into the right column in 1940 and leave 
Vermont all alone." 

On June 23, 1939, 1 was called to the White House for a conference. 
As usual we began by discussing stamps. I reported receiving a letter 
from a Mrs. Casper Whitney suggesting a Cape Cod postage stamp. 

"Jim, there's not a Democratic vote at Cape Cod," he laughed. "I 
think the next stamp we issue should be for Farley and Roosevelt." 

"Just a minute," I cut in with a laugh. "I don't know how you feel, 
but I'd just as soon that stamp won't be issued for a long, long time. 
Unless, of course, you could have the law amended to permit living 
persons to be portrayed on stamps. Then it would be all right with me." 

"Objection sustained," he chuckled. 

I told Roosevelt I was being pressed by Charles Harwood of New 
York for a judicial appointment. I knew nothing of Harwood's $25,000 
loan to Elliott Roosevelt, or the $200,000 loan of John Hartford of the 
Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, until the Story became public in 


"I'd like very much to help Charlie, but I just don't know where 
to turn," he said. "I am anxious to find something for him and will 
get around to it." 

There was no mention of politics in our talk except when the Presi- 
dent brought up his one and one-half billion dollar pump priming 

i jo Jim Farley's story 

Lend-Spend program. The theory was to advance loans for self- 
liquidating projects, so that the Federal budget would not be further 
unbalanced by administration spending. 

"I think it's all right and the one thing necessary to win in 1940," 
he said. "If the program is not passed, we Democrats will have plenty 
of trouble." 

A few days later, when he was entertaining King George and Queen 
Elizabeth, he was cold and distant. Along with other Cabinet mem- 
bers and their wives, Mrs. Farley and I went down to Mt. Vernon 
aboard the Potomac. The day was hot, but there was ice in the Presi- 
dent's manner toward me. I enjoyed the visit of the King and Queen 
and thought they handled themselves extremely well under difficult, 
or let us say trying, circumstances. I laughed heartily at the famous 
British Embassy garden party when Jack Garner slapped the King 
on the back in telling him a story not so much at the gesture or the 
story but at the looks on the faces of the astounded Britishers. 

In July, as I was preparing for a European tour with my daughters, 
Betty and Ann, and Edward Roddan of the Democratic National 
Committee, the third term talk was boiling under Capitol Dome. In 
fact, it boiled over, sweeping down Pennsylvania Avenue into all 
executive offices and departments. Various Democratic Senators and 
officials up to Cabinet rank came to me declaring themselves against 
the third term, predicting it could bring nothing but disaster to the 
party. I advised them all there was no necessity for my getting into 
a row with the President about a situation which might clear itself in 
a few months. 

On July 6, Paul McNutt came to see me and talk about the number 
of candidates for 1940 if the President did not run. I said there was 
nothing to be done until the President made known his intentions 
around the first of the year. He agreed. A few days later McNutt was 
named Federal Security Administrator, which occasioned no little sur- 
prise in official circles, but was no surprise to me, because I saw in 
the move an adroit maneuver to silence Paul's campaign for the nomi- 
nation. As a member of the President's official family of near Cabinet 
rank, he was bound not to campaign unless he had the blessing of 
the President. 

More rumblings 171 

That noon I went up to Capitol Hill for a lunch with the Vice Presi- 
dent, at his invitation* He was preoccupied during a pleasant meal 
I had an idea of what was on his mind, but said nothing, as I wanted 
him to approach the problem in his own way at his own time. After 
dessert, Garner pulled out one of his long cigars, lit it carefully; 
through the smoke and from under his picturesque eyebrows he 
studied me and then plunged into the heart of his subject, which I 
had expected him to do. 

"I have no intention of playing poker with you, Jim, but will lay 
all my cards on the table," he began. "You don't have to commit your- 
self one way or the other. I want to let you know just where I stand 
and exactly how I feel. I mean on this third term business. Jim, I can't 
support a third term and will fight any third term bid for the good of 
the party. First off, I want you to believe me when I say I don't want 
to be President. God knows how true that is." 

There were tears in his eyes and his voice was charged with con- 

"Jack, if you tell me you don't want to be President, then I do be- 
lieve you," I said. 'Tour word is good enough for me." 

"Thanks," he said. "Mrs. Garner would like me to give no considera- 
tion to the Presidency because she would like to go back to Uvalde. 
She has no liking for the third term. I'm sure she wouldn't vote for 
Roosevelt, Jim." 

"I don't think Bess would stay away from the polls," I laughed. iC If 
I would get back to private life, I think she and the children would 
be happy. Sometimes I wonder if we in politics neglect our families 
to our own disadvantage." 

"You may have something there," he agreed, "but I have been in 
politics for forty years and at this stage of the proceedings I can't let 
down the people who have helped me. I particularly can't let them 
down by silence on such a vital and far-reaching issue, the third term. 
At the moment, I feel I'm the only one who can head up any opposi- 
tion. I owe it to my friends and to the party." 

"That is so," I acknowledged. "However, I'm not sure when any 
decision has to be made. Early in the year, I thought August i was 
the deadline on which the President would have to declare his in- 

172 Jim Farley's story 

tendons. Since then I have changed my mind and now feel that we 
might wait until January." 

"On the strength of that 'we,' I want to ask you a question," he 
said. "If it's out of order, you don't have to answer. Jim, are you against 
the third term?" 

"Yes," I answered, "but don't tell a living soul." 

"I won't and I appreciate your confidence," he said earnestly. "The 
two of us can pull together to stop Roosevelt." 

"I'm not sure that we will need to," I said. "If the President doesn't 
talk to me by the early part of January, I'll have to go to him as Chair- 
man of the National Committee and ask him what his plans are. I don't 
know whether I should announce my own candidacy. Frankly, I have 
no feeling at all about the nomination for the Presidency or the Vice 
Presidency, but I am concerned over the precedent that might be es- 
tablished by a third term. And no one can question my loyalty or faith- 
ful service to the President. I must confess I am a bit piqued over the 
neglect and the kicking around I have been getting." 

"Why, Jim, you mean to say you don't know why you are out in 
the cold?" he asked. 

"Truthfully I don't," I said. "I'm deeply grateful to the President 
for the opportunity of serving in his Cabinet and as party chairman, 
and I have returned thanks by performing as well as I know how. But 
I feel I am entitled to a few thoughts of my own on matters of con- 
cern to the country and the party." 

"The plain and simple truth is that he's jealous of you, Jim," Garner 
said. "No chairman has ever made the contribution to the party you 
have, nor could any chairman compare with you in party achievement. 
You have grown tremendously in office and before the country, and 
he is just downright jealous of your popularity." 

"I find that hard to believe," I said. 

"Well, just think it over," he said. "He's jealous of Hull for his 
standing before the public. Cordell and I have talked that over. And 
he's jealous of me for my popularity in Congress. He ought to be 
glad to see men in the party coming along and fancies that he is glad, 
but actually he doesn't like it." 

A few days later I was in Columbus, Ohio, for a postmasters' con- 

More rumblings 173 

vention. When I put in my daily call to the Post Office Department 
Bill Bray, my administrative assistant, told me that Cardinal Mundelein 
of Chicago was having lunch with the President and had asked to see 
me. He had my call switched to the White House where the Cardinal 
asked if I could call on him. I said I would be in New York on July 12, 
1939, and would be glad to visit him. He told me to come to the Van- 
derbilt Hotel, where he always stayed when in New York City. 



I FOUND THE Cardinal reading his breviary in his hotel room. He 
laid it aside, tucking in a ribbon to mark his place. We were left 
alone after I was ushered in. We exchanged greetings as old 
friends. I inquired as to his health and, without much more ado, he 
carne to the point of the meeting. 

"I had a most enjoyable visit with the President," he said. "Although 
he must be extremely busy he spent two hours or more with me. I 
found every minute enjoyable. He is truly a great man. I find more to 
admire in him at every visit. I think it is most fortunate that he is where 
he is and I hope he remains. It is my belief that he will run for a third 


"Did he say so?" I asked eagerly. 

"No," he said slowly. "No, but I hope that you will support him if 
he does. The President was extremely generous I feel that I can tell 
you this in his reference to you and spoke of you in very flattering 

"I am glad to hear it," I said. "I wouldn't mind hearing it from him. 
There is no reason why he should not be generous to me; I have always 
done what he has asked me to do, and I certainly have given him no 
cause for complaint." 

"James," he studied me earnestly, "you have always been most frank 
and open with me, so that I feel entirely free in broaching a most con- 
fidential matter to you. It is my sincere feeling that a Roman Catholic 
could not be elected President of the United States at this time or for 
many years to come. I hope, therefore, that you will do nothing to in- 
volve the Catholics of the country in another debacle such as we 
experienced in 1928." 

At the tone of his "James" I braced myself for what was to come 
and resolved that I was not going to be persuaded into taking a course 
contrary to my better judgment. 

The Cardinal and the President 175 

"Your Eminence, I have my own views, definite views, on the third 
term, but I do not think this is the proper time to air them if for no 
other reason than that I do not think you are the proper person to 
hear them, although you are a respected friend. I do not feel at liberty 
to discuss my views until the President has told me what he will do. 

"Last winter he indicated strongly he would not be a candidate 
again. A week ago Friday he told me how often he had supported 
Democratic candidates for the Presidency when he knew there was 
no chance of their election; that he plumped for Bryan in 1908, Cox 
in 1920, Davis in 1924, and Smith in 1928; that he had run with Cox 
in 1920 when he knew it was hopeless, and that he had run for Gov- 
ernor in 1928 only to help Smith out. He said he had worked for all 
the party nominees on losing tickets and yet maintained that if a losing 
ticket should be nominated in 1940, he did not feel obligated to sup- 
port it. I told the President he did not have to do anything he did 
not want to; but I find such an attitude difficult to understand, particu- 
larly in that it comes from one who has twice received the greatest 
gift the party can bestow. I cannot imagine him upsetting party tradi- 
tion to be a candidate for a third term." 

"I am satisfied he is going to run," the Cardinal said. 

"I can't believe it, and my belief is based on his own intimations 
and hints. Not that there isn't plenty of activity for a third term on 
the part of a lot of the fellows who are close to him and want to stay 
close to the White House. But I can't imagine a third term happening 
without the President's full knowledge and approval. It may be that 
he is willing to let it develop and see if it is possible and then announce 
what he will do. Perhaps he might even blow on it as one would blow 
on a dying fire to kindle it into flame. Until he speaks, as I think he 
will speak and as he should speak, I must rely on his intimations. 

"Now, for myself, I frankly do not care what happens to me politi- 
cally. A place on the national ticket does not concern me too much. 
My wife and children would be far happier, and without a doubt better 
off, if I forgot all about public life. I hope you will believe me." 

"I do." 

"Now I want you, as an old and respected friend, to know I have 
been kicked around by the President and the so-called New Dealers 

176 Jim Farley's story 

for some eighteen months, I do not deserve such treatment. I have 
done much, certainly too much to deserve such treatment. It is not 
a matter of great concern to me that Roosevelt does not regard me 
as qualified for the office of President. It would be difficult for him 
to find anyone qualified but himself. I do not say that unkindly, be- 
cause it has been so with every President, Democrat and Republican, 
Federalist and Whig. There are many other people of intelligence, wis- 
dom, and ability, whose judgment is above question, who believe I 
am qualified. I do not think the President should take the position that 
I am not. I am not asking him to do anything for me. He certainly 
should not be the one to say I cannot win, if nominated, in view of what 
I have done for him." 

"Why don't you tell the President how you feel?" he suggested. 

"I would and will if he ever raises the question." 

"James, I do not believe a Catholic could win." 

"A great many people, among them the Vice President, Senators, 
Representatives, and party leaders, feel differently. Men who know 
something about politics. Conditions are not the same as they were 
ten or twelve years ago. When Smith ran, the Democratic party was 
not in power; Smith was in the front in the fight for repeal of the pro- 
hibition law; the country was prosperous; Smith's choice of Raskob, 
a Republican, for National chairman was an affront to the old time 
Democrats; Smith's conduct of the campaign was anything but skillful 
and diplomatic; it was doubtful that any Democrat could have been 
elected in that year, and the religious issue alone should not be blamed 
for Smith's defeat. 

"On the other side of the picture, there is no reason to believe that 
the Democratic party will not win in 1940; the party is now in power; 
there are hundreds of thousands of Democrats on government pay 
rolls and whether or not they like the name Farley, they would not 
vote themselves out of office just because the candidate happens to be 
a Roman Catholic. There are thousands and thousands of persons 
working for the government of no set political affiliations, who would 
vote for me feeling reasonably certain they would keep their jobs if 
the Democratic party remains in control I travel at least 75,000 miles 
a year around the country; I have been in several thousand communi- 

The Cardinal and the President 177 

ties and I have personally met hundreds of thousands of persons and 
shaken their hands I have a larger acquaintance than any other man 
in the country. 

"I have contacts with members of the national committee, with state 
chairmen and other party workers. Regardless of what anyone may 
think, I am known, respected and trusted; and I have no hesitancy in 
saying, and I say it without egotism, that no other Democrat has any 
better chance than I have. In view of this, the President has no right to 
be against me. I said I don't care what happens to me actually I am 
not planning to secure the nomination for myself. Time will disclose 
my plans. Nonetheless, I am not going to take this lying down. I 
will not let myself be kicked around by Roosevelt or anyone else. 

"Loyalty is not all on one side," I continued. "For the last year and 
a half he has not consulted me on appointments. Within six months, 
two appointments have been made in New York, my own state, which 
have been most displeasing to me. There is no reason why the loyalty 
should be all on my side. It is time that the President be loyal to me. 
I have been loyal in the face of a most trying situation. I have been 
made some very attractive offers 'if I would forget Roosevelt/ and 
a huge fund could be mine if I would get out and fight Roosevelt, 
which I do not for a moment propose to do. I am still being loyal, 
and loyalty should work two ways, even if Roosevelt doesn't recog- 
nize that principle." 

The Cardinal repeated that I should talk to the President. He said 
that he was interested in me and, as a friend, felt he could speak frankly; 
that he hoped the situation could be settled so that I would support 
the third term he was certain the President would attempt. 

"If I talk to the President, Your Eminence, should I tell him that 
you have talked to me?" I asked. 

"I hope you will not do so, James," he said. 

I do not know whether he talked to the President about me. I feel 
that he did in view of what happened, but I have no way of knowing. 
Even as we spoke, I had the feeling the President had asked him to 
speak to me. 

"Before I go," I said, looking him full in the face, "I want to be free 
as I know how, Your Eminence. I want to be perfectly frank. Per- 

178 Jim Farley's story 

haps you will not like this, but it is in my mind and you should know 
it. You are the first person in the Church who has ever attempted to 
influence me on a political matter and I have been in politics for thirty 

"It is only because I am interested in you and because you have 
always been considerate of me," he said. "I have heard something, 
which I hope you will not object to my mentioning. I understand there 
has been some criticism of Mrs. Farley some things she has said, or 
is supposed to have said, about the President." 

"That is perfectly all right," I said, wondering if he was carrying 
this complaint from the White House itself. "I'm glad you brought it 
up. Mrs. Farley is a loyal wife and feels strongly resentful of what has 
been done to me. She has never forgotten the way the President acted 
when Huey Long attempted to bring about an investigation of me. 
Long was not aiming at me, but was trying to get at the President. He 
chose me because I was the most vulnerable to pick on, in view of my 
dual role as Postmaster General and party chairman. Long was aware 
he would injure Roosevelt if he could tear me down. 

"Mrs. Farley could never condone the President's silence in the face 
of Long's accusations. Even after the Senate had vindicated me and 
splendidly they did so Roosevelt said nothing in my defense. She 
felt that in view of my services, he should have rallied to my support, 
even if he were not moved by loyalty and friendship. Apparently I 
am a bottle of tonic to be taken when needed and then shelved until 
needed again. Now I have come to the point where I don't care to be 
shaken well before or after using. The President has never written me 
a word of appreciation or thanks for what I have done since 1930 and I 
have given freely of my strength, my time, and my ability at great per- 
sonal sacrifice." 

"I can't believe that," he exclaimed. "I mean I couldn't if you hadn't 
told me it was so." 

"It is so, more's the pity," I said. 

At the conclusion of the foregoing discussion, we had a very nice 
chat about the current situation and the world generally. He was 
extremely well informed on all matters, and it was always a delight 
for me to visit with him. Our friendship was not at all disturbed by 

The Cardinal and the President 179 

the discussion we had, and from that day until his passing we remained 
close, intimate friends. I very much resented the President's sugges- 
tion to His Eminence, my close, personal friend, that he try to change 
my course of action on a matter of principle which the President him- 
self should have freely discussed with me. There was no reason for a 
third person to be brought in for such a discussion. 

Some months later, at Cardinal Mundelein's funeral, one of the priests 
who had accompanied him to New York at the time of the meeting 
which I have herein related told me that after I left the hotel that 
day, the Cardinal told him that he appreciated the candid way in 
which I explained my position and that his regard for me was greater 
than ever. 



IN THE DAYS that followed, the newspapers and magazines were 
filled with stories of a rift between the President and myself. Edi- 
torial and news columns were heavy with speculation that I was 
dissatisfied at the way things were being handled, which was an un- 
derstatement, and that I had quarreled with the President, which was 
wide of the mark. As evidence of a rift, my infrequent appearances at 
the White House were cited. When the speculation showed every 
sign of increasing rather than abating, the President sent for me, sum- 
moning me to his home at Hyde Park for dinner and to spend the 
night of July 23. Later, I understood Norman Littell of the Depart- 
ment of Justice, who was most anxious to avoid a party split, had 
been active at the White House with other mutual friends in promot- 
ing the conference. I visited my son, Jimmy, in camp in New Hamp- 
shire that Sunday, leaving about noon to drive down to Hyde Park 
by way of Vermont. 

I arrived at Hyde Park about four-thirty in the afternoon. The 
President was not at the family home, but at the field-stone cottage re- 
treat where he had served hot dogs to King George and Queen Eliza- 
beth a few weeks before. Monte Snyder, the President's chauffeur, 
started to drive me over along a winding dirt road between acres of 
young Christmas trees. At a fork in the road we were flagged down by 
able, efficient Michael Reilly, Chief of the White House Secret Serv- 
ice detail, who said the President was coming. In a few minutes he 
came whirling down the lane in his hand-braked Ford. Missy Le Hand 
was at his side. He beckoned to me and I climbed into the back seat. 

"Hello, Boss," I said. 

"Glad to have you aboard, Jim," he greeted. 

"I guess I'm safe in Republican Dutchess County," I wisecracked, 
"inasmuch as I just left Vermont without getting into difficulty. You 
know, ever since Vermont and Maine got out of step with the rest of 


Hyde Park Conference, 1939 181 

the country in 1936, I don't like to walk around up there, especially 
after dark." 

"Why, Jim," he laughed, "I believe you've inherited the prejudices 
of your Irish forebears against the north country." 

"Only in the electoral college," I said. "And speaking of politics, 
you may be interested in a conversation Jimmy and I had under a tree 
at his camp. We were talking about this and that, when, out of a clear 
sky, he asked me, 'Dad, what's this I see in the papers about you and 
Roosevelt? ' I had to laugh, because Jimmy at his age isn't much of a 
hand at reading the papers." 

The President threw back his head in hearty laughter and exclaimed, 
"I love it! I love it!" 

By this time we reached the graveled driveway, curving in front 
of the house. We had iced tea and cake on the porch. Missy was with 
us almost continuously during an hour and a half of conversation. Once 
or twice she was called to the phone. At seven we had dinner, being 
joined by Laura Delano, a cousin of the President; Aunt Polly, sister 
of his mother; Harry Hooker, schoolmate and former law partner of 
the President; Mrs. Roosevelt, and the President's mother. Dinner con- 
versation was general. 

After dinner Roosevelt and I headed for the small study in the north 
wing. The night was hot but not unpleasant. A light breeze set the 
massive trees awhispering and the hum of insects could be heard dur- 
ing lulls in the chat. The President toyed with a bottle of Danziger 
Goldwasser, watching the gold flakes dance as he poured a thimbleful 
every now and then. 

He hopscotched over the political situation. He talked about the 
purge, explaining that he started it because conservatives were ham- 
stringing his program and he felt the Democratic party must be liberal 
to be successful. He told me he wanted Alben Barkley of Kentucky as 
Senate Majority Leader because he felt Pat Harrison of Mississippi was 
against his tax and spending policies. 

"Let me interrupt you right there," I broke in. "I think you made a 
mistake by projecting yourself into what was the Senate's affair. I 
would not have opposed Pat Harrison's candidacy, although I have 
nothdng in the world against Alben Barkley. He's my close friend. 

1 82 Jim Farley's story 

The simple fact of Harrison's service before and during the Chicago 
convention in 1932 would have moved me to hold my hand if I had 
been in your shoes. You may recall that on the third ballot the Mis- 
sissippi delegation was within a vote or a fraction of a vote of leaving 
you, due to tremendous pressure within the delegation. Pat got out 
of bed, came to the convention hall late at night and stiffened the dele- 
gation into holding the line for you. Had they shifted their vote, dis- 
astrous shifts might have followed in other delegations. I told you be- 
fore and I repeat now that, in my opinion, his action placed you under 
everlasting obligation to him." 

He was frigid during my remarks. I filled in a conversational gap 
by saying that I thought he had made a mistake by interfering in Ohio, 
and expressing regret at my small part in the attempt to purge Senator 
Tydings, saying I should always be sorry that I let him talk me into 
accompanying him on his purge tour into Maryland. He was quite 
bitter against Tydings, but admitted there had never been much 
chance for Representative David Lewis to beat the Senator, adding 
that the Lewis candidacy was the best thing that could be done under 
the circumstances. He then drifted into consideration of his fight 
against John O'Connor. He said he had seen O'Connor a number of 
times, when the New York Congressman was opposing his wage and 
hour legislation and during the contest for House leadership against 
Sam Rayburn in 1937, but had been unable to get anywhere with him. 
I knew nothing of these visits and said so, adding that I thought the 
situation might have been handled differently, because O'Connor was 
disposed to be friendly. 

The misunderstanding arose when Senator Guffey of Pennsylvania 
had the state's delegation support Rayburn, which, I said, naturally 
enough led to the assumption that the President was behind the Texan. 
The President confirmed this assumption by saying O'Connor could 
not have led Congress the way Rayburn had. I did not argue the point, 
because it was all water over the dam. I repeated that I thought the 
situation could have been handled better had there been a little give 
and take. 

"Jim, you know Tommy Corcoran feels you did not go along all 
the way in the fight against O'Connor." He cocked his head and meas- 

Hyde Park Conference, 1939 183 

ured the effect of this shaft out of the corners of his eyes. From the 
tone it was evident that he was attributing to Corcoran what he him- 
self felt. 

"To be entirely frank, I didn't," I acknowledged. "You recall I ex- 
plained my position at the time of the purge and you approved my 
determination to keep my hands out of the fighting within the party. 
Getting back to Corcoran, there is no reason why he should expect 
the party chairman, whose first consideration is to maintain party har- 
mony, to do his dirty party-splitting work. 

"Mr. President, John O'Connor is my friend and he was your friend, 
too, in Chicago and before Chicago. As you know, John F. Curry, 
then leader of Tammany, tried to deprive him of his seat in Congress, 
because of his work on your behalf. The truth of the matter is that he 
would have won renomination if it wasn't for the financial assistance 
and campaign direction given his opponent, James Fay, by Corcoran 
and Ed Flynn. 

"Between you and me I'm getting a bit fed up with Corcoran and 
his crowd. They have not been fair with me. I know they have inspired 
stories against me. I think they have done you and me a great disservice. 
I know definitely they haven't got the influence with you which is 
attributed to them, but I don't think it healthy that such an impression 
of their influence prevails. I'll be able to handle them in my own way 
and at my own time. They're merely peanuts in a sugar barrel." 

Roosevelt was silent for a few moments, evidently turning over in 
his mind what I had said. I was glad to have a chance to speak out as 
I did, because I wanted to set myself straight with him and because I 
was hopeful that I could help him to a realization of the damage some 
of the brain misters were doing. There was always the possibility that 
he might be induced to veer away from them and steer in the direction 
of those who had been truly helpful to him, including myself. At heart 
the President was a boy, sometimes a spoiled boy. Although he had 
tremendous charm and vitality, he had a few petty attributes which 
were continually getting him into trouble. One of these was that he 
was forever trying to get even with someone for some slight, real or 
fancied. Another was that he was motivated on decisions, large or small, 
by his heart rather than his mind, all too frequently, and by hunches 

184 Jim Farley's story 

rather than by reason. Surrounded by genuinely loyal and able peo- 
ple, he would have encountered far less trouble. 

Roosevelt was slow in getting to the point, which I knew must come. 
The thing I was determined to do was to impress upon him that I 
would follow whatever course of action I decided was right and honor- 
able. He knew, for example, where I stood on Hull, but was not sure, 
I believe, where I would stand on a third term. Also, he was not sure 
how far I would go with him in supporting any candidate he might 
suggest, He began by considering the candidates. 

"To begin with, there's Garner," Roosevelt said as though he were 
counting on his fingers. "He's just impossible." 

"Just a minute," I cut in. "I am sure Jack is not interested in being 
a candidate. I am certain of this. He is willing to let his name be used, 
if necessary and only if necessary, as a candidate by those opposed to 
a third term. He is being encouraged by about a dozen Democratic 
Senators, including Byrnes and George and Bankhead." 

"Maybe so," he acknowledged. "Then there's Senator Byrd, who 
would not be acceptable, nor Senator Ty dings; and I thiijk Senator 
Wheeler is a candidate." 

"I know it," I contributed. "While I have no feeling against Wheeler 
personally, I'm not entirely sure of him because he voted against me 
when Huey Long was attacking me in the Senate. Incidentally, if you 
are concerned about the stories which have been appearing about me 
casting my lot with Wheeler, because I had lunch with him on the Hill 
the other day, you should know that there isn't a word of truth in 
them. I was not Wheeler's guest as the papers had it, but Guffey's. 
Wheeler just happened to be one of the party and we talked casually." 

"Glad to hear it," he said. He went on telling off his fingers. "Then 
there's Wallace. What do you think of Henry? I don't think he has It" 

"I don't think he has balance and judgment," I said. "I have a per- 
sonal liking for Henry and we have always been friendly, but I frankly 
don't know where he stands from day to day. I must confess I share 
the feeling around the country that he's a dreamer. I don't like to say 
it and I wouldn't want it carried back, because I would not want to 
hurt him. However, you asked my opinion and therfe it is." 

Hyde Park Conference, 1939 185 

"Next we come to Governor Stark of Missouri," he went on. "Some- 
how or other I don't know much about the Governor." 

"Well, personally I'm much incensed at Stark because at the time 
of the Pendergast investigation I had a visit from the Kansas City 
leader's nephew, who asked me to intercede in the tax case. The 
nephew was sent to me by Senator Truman. In justice to Harry I 
must report that when he found out what the young man had been up 
to, he called me and apologized at length, saying he would never have 
sent him if he knew what the nephew was going to ask me to do. I 
told Harry to forget it. 

"Well, to make a -long story short, I told the nephew that the case 
would have to take its course, that I could do nothing even if I were 
disposed to do so. A few days later Stark called me and in no unmis- 
takable terms intimated that I was interfering in the case. I burned 
him up. I'm telling you this because I want you to know that I'm not 
interested in that case or any similar case." 

"I do understand, Jim," he said. "Stark called me to express dis- 
satisfaction with the way the Treasury Department was proceeding. I 
told him the department was proceeding along regular lines and there 
was nothing to worry about, which was true." 

He then brought up the name of Paul McNutt and slowly turned 
down the thumb of his right hand. He did not mention Hull, Jesse 
Jones, Robert Jackson, Frank Murphy, Harry Hopkins, or myself as 
candidates. Finally, we reached the third term issue. 

"We must save democracy," he said in ringing tones as though he 
were on the platform. "It's the only way to save the country." 

"I think it's necessary to have the Democratic party successful in 
order to save the country," I put in. "And I am more concerned with 
the country than with the party, because success will come to the party 
if the country is secure and prosperous as surely as night follows day 
or maybe I should have put it the other way around day follows 

"Jim," he said, dropping his voice and speaking slowly for emphasis, 
"you and I have got to be together in 1940 to work for the good of 
the country and the party, just as we have in the past." 

1 86 Jim Farley's story 

I said nothing, waiting for what was to follow. He fixed his eyes 
on me most intently and set down his cigarette. 

"Now, they're trying to make me run. . . ." 

"Just one interruption, Boss," I broke in. "Before you go any further, 
I want to say that sooner or later you will have to declare yourself. 
Just when that day should be, I am not prepared to say at this time, 
because I am not satisfied in my own mind, except in the most general 
sort of way." 

"Jim, I am going to tell you something I have never told another 
living soul," Roosevelt dropped his voice to an impressive whisper. 
"Of course, 1 will not run -for a third term. Now I don't want you to 
pass this on to anyone, because it would make my role difficult if the 
decision were known prematurely." 

"Mr. President, you have my word of honor on that," I said as sol- 
emnly as I could, little expecting that he would repeat the same words 
to others within a few days. 

"Thanks, Jim," he acknowledged. "Now the way Fm going to han- 
dle it is this. Along about the time the North Dakota primary comes 
along, when it is necessary for me to file or not to file, I won't file, 
thereby indicating I'm not a candidate." 

He smiled gleefully as though he and I were sharing a huge joke. 

"That's all right in its way, but I think you ought to say something 
one way or the other at that time," I said. "I think you should write 
a letter to the state chairman of North Dakota saying that you are not 
a candidate." 

"Yes, that would be another way," he agreed. "The thing for us to 
do now is to get friendly delegations. You and I must work together 
for the party, the same as we have in the past." 

"The friendly delegations are all right with me, too," I said lightly. 
"Who are they supposed to be friendly for or against?" 

He laughed. 

"I suppose the Georgia delegation will be for Walter George," he 
said. "Do you think the Florida delegation will be friendly?" 

"I think so." 

"And what about Alabama?" he asked again. 

"I think they will be for Speaker Bankhead," I said. "And I think 

Hyde Park Conference, 1939 187 

Tennessee will be for Hull, Arkansas for Bailey, Byrd and Glass will 
control Virginia, and Ohio will be for Senator Donahey." 

"That's the way I size them up," he said. "But you must understand 
one thing, Jim. 7 do not 'want to campaign -for a losing ticket" 

"Boss, as the party's leader, you'll have to campaign for whatever 
ticket is selected," I argued. "We cannot compromise on the plat- 
form; it must be a wholehearted endorsement of your administration. 
In turn you will just have to go along with the party. Cox and yourself 
received such support from the party and its leaders, although it was 
known that it was a losing ticket. The same goes for Smith and Robin- 
son in 1928. Frankly, the party would be disappointed and rightfully 
so, if you did not support the ticket, particularly if it is a ticket that you 
could support." 

He made no answer. He switched the conversation to an entirely 
different subject. 

"Jim," he said, "you're the only member of the Cabinet I have no 
reason to criticize for any public utterance. And you're the only one 
who, at some time or other, has never asked for anything from some 
other department, And I want to say, here and now, that I appreciate 
it more than you know." 

Later, I had cause to believe his immediate reference was to Solicitor 
General Robert Jackson, because Harry Hooker, the President's one- 
time law partner, told me the next day that Mrs. Roosevelt was dis- 
pleased with Bob's speeches against business, believing they had done 
the President much damage. Hooker described her as very much against 
Corcoran and Cohen, the Gold Dust Twins, as they were called. 

In reply to the President's generous remarks about my official con- 
duct, I told him there was nothing any other department had that I 
wanted. As for my own department, I went on to say that there was 
one agency which should never be touched and that was the Postal 
Inspection Service. I had appointed K. P. Aldrich as Chief Inspector 
without ever having seen him. When he arrived to take over the post, 
I called him into my office and told him that I wanted it thoroughly 
understood he would get no interference in the conduct of his office 
from mel The President said he was glad to hear it, adding that he re- 
spected me the more for it. 

1 88 Jim Farley's story 

I brought the conversation back to 1940, asking bluntly what kind 
of a candidate he wanted. His answer was, "All I have to say is that 
I hope they don't nominate just a yes man, but pick someone who is 
sympathetic to my administration and who will continue my policies/' 

Since he had solemnly assured me that he was not going to be a candi- 
date, I gathered the impression that he had not anyone in mind for 
the Presidency at the moment. It was only natural that he should feel 
that it would be difficult to find a successor to himself. Presidents, sur- 
rounded as they are by flatterers, are not prone to underestimate their 
influence on history. As a dynamic and dramatic Chief Executive, 
Roosevelt had attracted more than his share of flattery. 

At this point he switched to a consideration of the picture in the 
Republican camp. He named Dewey as the most important figure in 
that party. I disagreed, feeling that the Republicans would not nomi- 
nate Dewey, but would choose Senator Vandenberg. 

"Dewey might get second place," I said, "but I can't see him in 
first place, because he is such a middle-of-the-roader, a liberal when 
among liberals and a conservative when among conservatives. I have 
a feeling that the Republicans will not take a chance with him because 
they don't know whether he'll jump right or left." 

"You've got him figured just about right, but I still think it will be 
Dewey and he will make a formidable opponent/' the President said. 
"That will make it all the more necessary for you and me to work to- 
gether in 1940." 

I made no answer to this. It was my turn to change the subject, 

"Boss, before we get off politics I want to show you something 
which may give you a laugh," I said, reaching into my brief case for 
some correspondence I had with Oliver Quayle, Treasurer of the Dem- 
ocratic National Committee. "Here's a letter from Quayle to Ickes 
asking for a $100 donation to the party, and here's Ickes's answer say- 
ing he could not afford such a large donation and asking that all further 
correspondence should be addressed to him at his office," 

"Don't you just love it?" he laughed. "And isn't that just like Har- 
old? You know he is serving his purpose as far as the administration 
is concerned, because his speeches are of a kind no one else can make; 

Hyde Park Conference, 1939 189 

but sometimes I think they may be more detrimental than helpful. 
And the same goes for him.' ? 

The President mentioned the Hatch bill, which was popularly sup- 
posed to clean up politics, saying that Charley Michelson had urged 
him to veto it on the ground that it should never have been passed on 
for signature. 

"Personally, Boss, I feel the same way," I said. "In my judgment it 
will turn out to be another Volstead Act; it can't possibly be enforced 
and can only promote hypocrisy rather than honesty. If I were you 
Td get an opinion from the Attorney General's office before acting 
either way." 

"I'll do it," he promised. 

Roosevelt confessed disappointment over his failure to get the neu- 
trality legislation through the Senate, declaring his defeat would only 
serve to help the aggressor nations. He summarized the conference he 
had with Garner and a bipartisan group of Senators, saying that he 
and Hull had painted a sombre picture of the situation in Europe, 
predicting that war might come at any time. Senator Borah, he said, 
took exception to the prediction, maintaining the information he re- 
ceived was just as authentic and, in many instances, came from the 
same sources tapped by the State Department. Hull deeply resented 
Borah's attitude, Roosevelt said. 

This brought up consideration of my impending European tour. I 
explained I had taken up the itinerary with Hull and had been advised 
that it would be all right to see Mussolini, but that I should find some 
excuse for ducking Hitler, should the latter extend an invitation to me. 
It was my intention, I said, to head off an invitation by announcing I 
was going directly through Germany into Poland. 

"Good, good," the President approved. "Be my eyes and ears on 
the trip, Jim, and pick up as much information as you can for me. See 
as many people as you can. See Winston Churchill. See Chamberlain 
or anybody in his Cabinet. You know there are many people in the 
country who, for various reasons, do not approve of our dealing with 
England, but it is necessary to stand firm against the aggressors." 

Conversation began to lag. Taking a hint from a long silence, I re- 

190 Jim Farley's story 

marked it was getting late and rose. He stuck out his hand. I grasped it. 

"Keep everything under control/' I said. "Take it easy while I'm 

"We'll have another nice, long conversation when you get back, 
Jim/' he said. "I have been waiting a long, long time to hold this one 
too long a time." 

"Don't take any wooden nickels," I was in the hall before his 
chuckle died away. 

"Take keer of yourself, Jim," he quoted in farewell. 

I spent a little time with the family, before I went up to a guest room 
for the night. Waiting for sleep, I mentally reviewed our conversation. 
I was glad no argument had arisen and that I had not committed my- 
self to any course of action. I was grateful there was no unpleasant- 
ness. I had demonstrated my willingness to talk freely and frankly, 
and without any bitterness over his neglect of me. On the other hand, 
I felt he was a bit ill at ease, so to speak, in trying to clarify a situation 
without admitting that he had been guilty of any offense toward me. 
He was fully aware of the stories in the press about his failure to 
confer with me and of the significance attached to the whole situation. 
I was sure that he wanted to have the appointment with me behind 
him, before I went abroad, so as to give the country the impression 
that all was well in our relationship and we were as friendly as ever. 

Considering his statement on the third term, I figuratively crossed 
my fingers. Except for Hull and myself, he had more or less effectively 
disposed of all the candidates who were leading all polls, and who were 
most frequently mentioned by the party faithful. I had never in- 
dicated to the press my position against the third term, as he knew. 
I had said repeatedly for publication that I had definite views and that 
when the proper time came I hoped to express them in a way which 
would not lessen my standing before the American people. Privately, 
I had clearly intimated my opposition to the third term. I know that 
my words were frequently carried back to the Whit House, and that 
was all right with me. 

I was sure that the third term issue could not be settled until the 
President declared himself one way or the other, and that it would 
remain a riddle until he chose to speak. I remember that I remarked 

Hyde Park Conference, 1939 191 

to myself that I would have to cover a lot of ground, literally and 
figuratively, before I had to meet the problem. I took solace from the 
fact that I had kept my temper and had conducted myself to the 
best of my ability in a trying period. I had not once publicly ex- 
pressed dissatisfaction or disapproval. And so to sleep. 

The next morning I was up early and slipped out for a walk, as is 
my custom. When I returned, Mrs. Roosevelt was at the breakfast 
table. I joined her. 

After breakfast I went to say good-by to the President and found 
him about to hold a press conference. I remained for the show. He 
was in high spirits and handled the questions very well indeed, par- 
ticularly when he was asked if I were going to resign. He tossed his 
head back and snapped, "He is not!" as if the suggestion that there 
was any friction between himself and me was the most ridiculous idea 
in the world. I could not help but consider how the reporters would 
have loved to have sat in on the conference of the night before and 
how the country would have relished the story. 

Our farewell was brief. I took Hooker down to New York with 
me. I did not see the President again until after the outbreak of the 
war. At my sailing with my daughters and Edward Roddan, I received 
the following wire from him: 







BY UNANIMOUS consent, politics took an enforced holiday at the 
outbreak of the war in Europe. With war immediately at hand 
and with the presidential campaign more than a year away, 
no motion had to be put for an adjournment of politics. 

While we had talked of the possibility of war frequently at Cab- 
inet meetings, the conflict seemed very far away, indeed, as the 
S.S. Manhattan of the United States Lines sailed at noon, July 26, 

The holiday mood was nipped for me by the frost of war in the 
air when we docked at Hamburg, Thursday, August 3. I can 
best describe my journey through Germany at that time by saying 
there was a mounting apprehension that something fearful was about 
to happen. In Berlin, American Charge d' Affaires Alexander Kirk was 
gloomily apprehensive, wanting us to get out of Germany as soon as 
possible. He sensed trouble ahead and warned me his influence would 
be pretty ineffectual as war fever mounted in German blood. 

In Poland uniforms were everywhere but there was none of the 
grim purpose of Germany. And there were almost no planes in the 
air and no ceaseless shuttling of military equipment. On every side 
there was calm resignation to what was considered inevitable. 

At a garden party given by Anthony Drexel Biddle, Jr., America^ 
Ambassador to Poland, and his wife, I had an opportunity to con- 
verse with Poland's leaders, President Moscicki, Premier Beck, and 
Marshal Smigly-Rydz. At one point Beck, Biddle, and I were to- 

"Mr. Premier, I am going to ask a rather presumptuous question, 
which you need not answer," I said. "What do you think of Hitler 
and Mussolini?" 

Beck looked at me, turned to Biddle, and then chuckled. "The ques- 
tion isn't indiscreet, but the answer would be," he said. 

I then asked about Poland's situation in the event of war. 

Politics takes a holiday 193 

"What Poland needs is money," Beck said. "We have received 
credit in England, but we need cash to keep our factories turning out 
our war equipment. We must have arms, because Hitler will attack. 
I became convinced of that at our conference last January. He would 
not look me in the eye, as in former meetings. He kept looking around 
the room, at the floor, at the ceiling, at the walls, at anything but me. 
I realized then Hitler meant no friendship toward Poland. We have 
been preparing as best we can since then." 

I asked why the Poles were so certain Hitler was bent on war. 

"We feel that Hitler is not getting the true picture of the position 
of other nations/' he answered. "I know just what the attitude of 
Great Britain, France, and the United States, and other nations will 
be in the event of war. I doubt if Hitler knows." 

I had interviews with Moscicki and Smigly-Rydz and Beck, privately 
as well as at the garden party. All told me the Poles were aware that 
Hitler would attempt to kill Poland by killing all Polish males Jews 
and Gentiles alike although he would probably begin with the Jews. 
All said alliance with Russia would be "walking into a bear's mouth 
to escape a wolf." Russian demands would be so great, they said, 
they could not live in peace and freedom. The General appeared con- 
fident in the face of odds and said the Poles would fight to the end, 
aware that Germany would be defeated eventually, and peace and 
freedom would certainly be restored to their country, although it 
might take many years. 

From Warsaw we journeyed to Cracow, where we placed $ wreath 
on the tomb of Marshal PilsudskL In this ancient city I visited the 
Jewish settlement, where I saw Jews living more closely after the 
customs and traditions of their ancestors than it has been my privilege 
to see anywhere else on my travels. I was greatly impressed. I found 
them no less determined to resist the Nazis than their Gentile com- 
patriots. In the short stay, I developed a tremendous respect and af- 
fection for the Poles in Warsaw and Cracow. In notes dictated at 
the time I expressed the hope they would be victorious. I noted, "Peo- 
ple with the spirit they have, never die." Many of them did. I shudder 
every time I consider what happened to that unfortunate nation, 
especially in the Cracow ghetto. 

194 Jim Farley's story 

Leaving Poland we halted briefly in Austria and then proceeded on 
to Italy. The highlight of our Italian journey was an audience with 
His Holiness, Pope Pius XII. I had twenty minutes alone with him and 
then Eddie and the girls joined us for about ten minutes. We talked 
of the trouble facing the world the war. 

"I am more concerned now than at any time before," the Pope said 
solemnly. "I am doing everything I can to avoid a conflict by prayer 
and by diplomacy." 

At this point the Holy Father astonished me by posing a third term 

"Will the President run again?" he asked. 

"I do not know," was my reply. "It will all depend on circumstances. 
Personally I do not think he would want to run and, if he does, he 
would be breaking unwritten law, because no one has ever done so 
within our party system." 

The Pope laughed quietly and then said, "You know, I am the first 
Italian Papal Secretary of State to be elected Pope/' 

I have often thought since that on that day he was a far better po- 
litical prophet than I was. 

In Rome, Phillips was gravely concerned over the impending pros- 
pect of war. In Paris war clouds were so low one could almost touch 
them. Ambassador Bullitt was busy holding the hands of Daladier, 
Reynaud, Paul-Boncour, Blum, and the rest. The embassy was a bee- 
hive. All diplomatic messages from the State Department to con- 
tinental embassies and legations funneled through the structure at 
the Avenue des Champs lysees and the Rue Boissy d'Anglas. Bullitt 
dispatched couriers throughout Europe, as telephone and telegraph 
wires were known to be tapped. The embassy had a direct wire to 
Washington through which Roosevelt and Bullitt maintained con- 
stant communication. From what I saw, Bullitt was closer than any- 
one in the diplomatic service to the President. Bullitt's capacity for 
work impressed me tremendously. 

We sailed from Le Havre for Cobh. In Ireland I found Premier 
Eamon De Valera, an old friend, certain that war was on its way. 

"It will be a long war," he told me, "but in the final analysis, the 

Politics takes a holiday 195 

allied powers should win. From our point of view it will be best to 
stay out of the war. By so doing we will be able to keep intact and 
at the same time be friendly to England. We are desirous of being 
helpful, in this or any other crisis in so far as we are able, short of 
actual participation in war. That \^ould be ruinous for us and injurious 
to England." 

Poland was invaded September i, 1939. On September 3, when 
Britain declared war, we were homeward bound. Upon arrival in this 
country, I caught the first train for Washington after a family re- 
union breakfast, and went to a Cabinet meeting. When it came my 
turn to talk, the President said, "Now, Jim, please tell us all about it." 
However, before I could get under way he started with questions and 
I could not give a connected account of my trip. For fifteen or twenty 
minutes I answered penetrating questions about the temper and char- 
acter of the people as I saw them and about what I had been told by 
the various leaders I had seen. He then shut me off with, "I want to 
see you next week." 

I had lunch with the President September 13. We paid very little 
attention to our food, which was a typical desk luncheon of clear soup, 
chops and peas, a salad, dessert, and coffee. 

"Boss," I opened, "before you say anything, I want you to know 
we are to all intents and purposes in a state of war. That I hope we 
can stay out goes without saying. I think that at this time politics should 
be adjourned. The people aren't interested in politics; they are in- 
terested in their country and in their families." 

"Jim, you have hit the nail right on the head," he replied with 
hearty cordiality. "You were never more right. I feel exactly the 
way you do. The reason I didn't say anything before in the months 
behind was that there was a doubt in my mind as to what would 
happen abroad. Now what I expected to happen has happened." 

I was not clear as to his exact meaning and waited for him to ex- 
plain himself. When he showed no disposition to do so I turned to 
the domestic scene and asked, "I haven't made up my mind as yet 
myself, but I wonder whether it would not be a good idea to cancel 
the Jackson Day dinner?" 

196 Jim Farley's story 

"I don't think there will be any necessity for that," he answered 
slowly. "We could bring in a few Republicans and make it a bi- 
partisan affair." 

"I'm afraid it might look as though we were trying to talk politics 
at a time when we were urging national unity, but there's no need to 
make a decision this minute," I said. 

"Jim, we are on a day-to-day basis now at home and abroad," he 
said seriously. "Our foreign policy may shift within twenty-four hours 
or within an hour. The same is true of domestic matters. Everything 
depends upon the course of the war. Problems will have to be met 
as they come along, including politics. You remember, before you 
went away, I said I would have to make my position clear on the 
third term by passing up the first presidential preference primary 
in North Dakota, I think it is early in the year. Now it looks as if 
I could do nothing until the spring, March or April. 

"That makes sense to me," I agreed. "I think it would be a mistake 
to have anyone connected with the administration make political 
speeches at this time. I think you were wise in not making your 
scheduled speech before the Democratic women recently. If anyone 
in the administration has engagements, they should keep them, in my 
opinion. I don't see any objection to officials talking about depart- 
mental problems, but they should not bring politics into it. In this 
connection I think Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson's speech 
at Boston was bad. It reeked of war, and such speeches are bound 
to be detrimental at this time." 

He nodded. Taking advantage of his good humor, I decided to risk 

"Boss, I want to say something you may not like," I said. 

"Go ahead, Jim; I can take anything these days," was his invitation. 

"Well, I think the time has arrived to forget bitterness," I said. 
"The time has come for everyone along the line to forget the past 
and try to help in every way they can. I think that you'll find those 
in Congress who opposed you in the past more than ready to do so 
and I think you should meet them more than half way. I have Sen- 
ator Walter George in mind for one. He has undergone an eye opera- 

Politics takes a holiday 197 

tion in New York. I think it would be a fine and helpful gesture if you 
were to write him a note wishing him well." 

"HI send him a telegram," he promised. 

"And I hear Senator Pat Harrison is ill in Biloxi," I said. "I've talked 
with George and he tells me Pat is suffering from high blood pressure. 
I think you might write him." 

"Good idea," he said. 

"Speaking of health, how's Harry Hopkins?" I asked. 

"In a bad way, I'm afraid," was the reply. "When he comes back 
to Washington, it will probably be to die." 

"And Marvin Mclntyre?" I asked, having been told by White 
House physician Ross T. Mclntire that the President's secretary would 
never be able to fulfill his duties again. 

"Mac will be all right in a couple of months," he said. 

I reported on my observations abroad, noting, in particular, the 
work being done by Bullitt, Phillips, Kirk, and Cudahy. I told him 
Phillips was one of the first to see how things were going to go, 
having been low in spirits over the world picture for over a year. 

"You know he has wanted to resign as ambassador, but I won't let 
him," Roosevelt confided. "He can't resign now even if he should 
want to, because if Bill Phillips resigns I would have to appoint a new 
ambassador whose credentials would recognize the conquest of 
Ethiopia. I can't do that at present at any cost. 

"Ill tell you a story about Bill you don't know. About the time of 
the Munich conference, I sent a message for delivery to Hitler and 
Mussolini through our ambassador. Phillips had gone to Florence to 
visit his wife when it came in; late at night, Alan Rogers, the second 
secretary, took the message down to Count Ciano at the Italian For- 
eign Office. Very cleverly Rogers told Ciano he had a message to 
deliver to Mussolini in person and that he (Rogers) would lose his 
position in the career service if he failed to do so, Ciano said Mussolini 
couldn't possibly see Rogers, and the second secretary had to be con- 
tent with Ciano's promise of delivery. Phillips felt very badly about 
it, thinking Mussolini might have seen him, which I doubt. 

"And my story has a happy ending, because I am sure that Mussolini 

198 Jim Farley's story- 

had the message before him when he talked to Hitler the next morn- 
ing by telephone. And I think the message prevented Hitler from 
marching as he doubtless intended." 

I said I was aware of the delicate situation involving Ethiopia. 

"The Italians know my views, whether they understand them or 
not," he said. "I told the Italian ambassador my position. You know I 
inherited from Herbert Hoover what I call the Stimson (Henry L. 
Stimson, former Secretary of State) policy, under which this country 
would not recognize Japan's conquest of Manchuria. If I recognize 
Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, which was made in a regular fashion, I 
would have a Japanese problem on my doorstep. I told the Italian 
ambassador to so advise II Duce, that time would take care of the 

I did not understand what the President meant by "regular fash- 
ion," but did not seek an explanation. I reported that I heard praise 
for his policy on every side except in Germany and Italy. I told him 
there was criticism of him in Germany for failure to return Am- 
bassador Hugh Wilson. 

"Is that so?" he asked. "I wanted to return Wilson, but Cordell 
Hull was opposed to it." 

I had not heard that before. I told the President the German people 
were grateful to Hitler for many things, but bringing them into the 
war was not one of them, so far as I could learn from Americans in 
Germany. I told him the Italians were speaking rather openly against 
Germany and gave it as my opinion that Mussolini was sitting on the 
fence as far as the war was concerned. 

"That's exactly what he's doing," the President said. "If it looks as 
if Germany will lose, he will go in with the opposition; if it looks 
as if the Germans will win, he will pitch in with them." 

I told him I regretted that I had not had a chance to visit England; 
that I should have liked to have called on Winston Churchill, to 
whom he had given me a letter, and others. I asked how Ambassador 
Kennedy was getting along. As usual he was critical of Joe, whom 
he never liked. 

"I want to tell you something," he confided, "fnd don't pass it on 
to a living soul. Some weeks ago Joe had tea with the King and Queen, 

Politics takes a holiday 199 

who were terribly disturbed about the situation. Afterwards he saw 
Sir Samuel Hoare and several others connected with the British gov- 
ernment, and they, too, were quite worried. After his talks Joe sat 
down and wrote the silliest message to me I have ever received. It 
urged me to do this, that, and the other thing in a frantic sort of way." 

Here the President grabbed his phone and asked that Under Secre- 
tary of State Welles be put on the wire. When he had Welles he asked 
him to send over a copy of Kennedy's message and the White House 
reply for the presidential files. 

"You know," he explained confidentially, "Joe has been taken in 
by the British government people and the royal family. He's more 
British than Walter Hines Page (American Ambassador to Britain 
in World War I) was. The trouble with the British is that they have 
for several hundred years been controlled by the upper classes. The 
upper classes control all trade and commerce; therefore the policy 
of the British government relates entirely to the protection of this 

The President was never very generous before me in his reference 
to the British in the prewar days. He was forever expressing doubt 
that Britain would ever go through for anyone else, declaring they 
were for England and England alone all the time. However, he 
always had the highest admiration and respect for Winston Churchill. 

The President switched the conversation to a consideration of the 
War Industries Board, headed by Edward R. Stetrinius, Jr., son of a 
former J, P. Morgan and Company partner. 

"When they turn in their report, I think I'll put them on the 
shelf," he said musingly. "I realize fully that they are under the Mor- 
gan influence. A number of people have told me this, thinking I was 
unaware of the situation. Of course, if the war industries are dom- 
inated by the Morgan crowd, they would do all the business and make 
all the money. The Morgan crowd have been bitterly opposed to me 
and all I have advocated. I'll take all the necessary steps. Henry Mor- 
genthau made a mistake in naming one of an associated crowd and 
there's someone else definitely of Morgan influence ..." 

He left the sentence hanging in the air and went into a brown study. 
My mind raced. Here was the opportunity I was looking for. 

200 Jim Farley's story 

"Boss/ 1 I began lightly, "I'd like to say a word for a fellow I know 
quite well James A. Farley." 

"Why, Jim," he laughed. 

"If you set up any organization to control the activities of govern- 
ment and business, I believe I could head it up and do as satisfactory 
a job as anyone else you might select. Boss, I'm deadly serious. While I 
am ordinarily a modest fellow and find it hard to talk about myself, 
I say to you I have the qualifications to do a good job." 

"Jim, I think you have something there," he said. 

"Further, as a member of your Cabinet, I would be sitting in on 
the policy meetings and would be able to report on the organization's 
activities," I went on. "You know how I can work for you. Anyone 
on the outside might not have the same attitude and might want to 
run the whole show." 

"What opposition would come from your being Democratic Chair- 
man?" he asked. "I wouldn't want you to give that up." 

"I don't think there would be any objection, although I'd be glad 
to step out," I said. "I could handle the matter by saying politics had 
been adjourned as far as I was concerned. I think the people and the 
press would have confidence in me and believe me, even though they 
might disagree with rne politically. And I would see to it that con- 
fidence was not abused." 

"I think it might be worked out," he said. 

Tm sure I could handle the situation efficiently and satisfactorily," 
I went on. "I would bring into the organization the right businessmen 
and get the thing rolling in no time." 

"Jim, I think it's the ticket," he said with enthusiasm. He picked 
up a pencil and began outlining an organization on paper. "At the 
top we have you. Let's see, we could call you Coordinator. How's that, 

"I don't think the title means a thing, except that you will have to 
have a name for the organization and for the man at its head." 

We talked about the steel industry, railroads, machine tools, rub- 
ber, tires, and nearly every important line of industry. He went over 
his Cabinet to see if anyone else could handle the post. Hull he dis- 
missed as having too many duties. Morgenthau had enough to do 

Politics takes a holiday 201 

with financial problems. The War and Navy secretaries had their own 
problems. Ickes was not the man for the job; business would have no 
confidence in him. Wallace had his own problems. Secretary of Labor 
Perkins was not discussed. Secretary of Commerce Hopkins was too 
ill and Attorney General Murphy would be occupied with prosecu- 
tions and espionage. I told the President the affairs of the Post Office 
Department were in good order and did not need my attention every 
moment. I asked him not to give his decision at once but to give my 
suggestion every consideration. He said he would do that, making a 
note of my initials at the head of his diagram. I never heard of it again. 
That same afternoon I had a long telephone conference with Secre- 
tary of Agriculture Wallace, who was disturbed by the influence and 
interference of Tommy Corcoran, of the White House "palace guard," 
with the government. He said Corcoran had pipelines in every de- 
partment of the government. I was not quite sure just what Wallace's 
complaint was. He closed by saying he was going to take the matter 
up again with the President and also with Secretary of State Hull 



ON SEPTEMBER 1 6, 1939, 1 received a phone call in my New York 
office from General Edwin M. Watson, Secretary and Mili- 
tary Aide to the President. He said the President had asked 
him to talk to me about the situation in the New York City district 
in which Congressman James Fay was running against William Ken- 
neally for the Tammany district leadership. Watson said the Presi- 
dent was disturbed because Steve Gibbons, Assistant Secretary of 
the Treasury, had promised to put up several thousand dollars to aid 
Fay but had not done so. I told Watson that the President had told 
me politics were to be forgotten during the war. Watson replied he 
had just talked to the Boss and received his instructions, the President 
being very definite on the point that he did not want Tommy Cor- 
coran to come up to New York and get the money. I was not clear 
on Tommy's connection but said I would call Steve. I felt that it 
was best to do so, though I had no wish to take even such an in- 
direct part in a primary fight, because I was aware the President bore 
me resentment for my refusal to take part in the successful purge of 
Representative John J. O'Connor. Fay defeated O'Connor without 
any help from me. From the information I had, Kenneally was fac- 
ing certain defeat anyway and the situation wasn't worth a quarrel 
with the President. I called Steve, who told me that Victor Emanuel, 
the utility man, was to put up the money. I suggested Steve call 
Watson. Meanwhile, I called the White House myself and told the 
general what I had done, expressing myself certain Steve would take 
care of the situation as desired. 

The President had asked me to talk to members of Congress in 
behalf of neutrality revision. On September 22, 1939, I went to the 
White House to report that there were about sixty votes in the Sen- 
ate for the repeal of the Neutrality Bill. I said that I had no advice on 
Senators Donahey of Ohio, Gerry of Rhode Island, or O'Mahoney 

Politics returns 203 

of Wyoming. I also said I had no line on Ed Johnson of Colorado 
or Wheeler of Montana. He made a wry face at the mention of the 
latter name. 

"Boss, if I may say so again, I wouldn't let my personal feelings in- 
terfere with my relations with Congress," I said. "All your friends 
will be for repeal I think it is absolutely necessary that you carry on 
at a high level and do everything possible to avoid friction in order to 
have a united country behind you. And to be perfectly frank, it will 
strengthen the Democratic party. I think you made a good start see- 
ing Senator Glass." 

"Yes, I had an interesting talk with Carter," he said. "You know, 
he's going to make a short speech in favor of neutrality repeal. That's 
real progress." 

We talked about a number of routine appointments. I did not bring 
up our conversation about war industries, feeling it best to let the 
situation ride, certain he would talk to me about it before he made 
any move as he had promised the week before. He was slightly less 
cordial than he had been the week before, but I attached no im- 
portance to this fact, being aware that he was under considerable 
pressure by virtue of the war. 

"Boss, I was delighted when you called in Senator Bailey during 
neutrality debate," I said. 

"Yes, Bailey is going to go along and he will be very helpful," 
he laughed. 

"How are you getting along with O'Mahoney?" I asked. 

"Splendidly," he said. "Joe came in and asked how he could help 
qn neutrality repeal, then answered the question by saying he thought 
he could help by talking to Senator Maloney of Connecticut. I said 
he had me there. You know Maloney hasn't made up his mind yet 
and he's really quite sincere about it. I saw him before I saw O'Ma- 
honey. Maloney is worried about the attitude of the Church. I told 
him I felt the Church would not oppose it." 

"I think you should see some of the others who have been on the 
other side of the street," I said. "How about seeing Senator Tydings?" 

"I would be glad to if there was something we could discuss," was 
his answer. 

204 I* 111 Farley's story 

"Well, I had a talk with Senator Wagner the other day," I said. 
"Bob says Ty dings is strong for national defense and that might give 
you a common ground to meet on." 

"That might fill the ticket," he said. 

On October 2, 1939, 1 called former Governor Alfred E. Smith to 
congratulate him on the radio speech he had delivered the night be- 
fore in behalf of neutrality revision. He said he was glad I liked it 
and bowled me over by reporting he had received a congratulatory 
message from Roosevelt. 

When I next saw the President I reported my conversation with AL 
Before I went into the office, General Watson showed me a letter 
acknowledging the congratulatory wire in which Al wrote, as nearly 
as I can remember, "Thank you very much for your kind wire. I am 
sure you will win your fight." In a few minutes I seated myself at 
the President's desk. 

"You know, Fm getting suspicious of what is going on around 
here," I said laughingly. "There are some mighty strange faces run- 
ning in and out of this office. There seems to be no dull moment 
around here. Bailey and O'Mahoney and Glass are trooping in here 
regularly, and now I suppose you'll throw out the welcome mat for 
your old friend 'Happy' Chandler." 

He joined in the laugh. I told him that Governor Chandler, whom 
he had defeated in a race against Senator Barkley, would succeed 
Senator Logan, who had just died. In this connection I remarked that 
I planned to attend the funeral of Cardinal Mundelein in Chicago. 
He urged me to do so by all means. 

I was most pleased to see the President so interested in healing the 
split within the party. He told me he had had a very nice chat with 
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts during my European tour. The other 
day, he continued, Walsh made a speech against the neutrality re- 
vision, which was most annoying. He asked that I see the Senator, 
which I promised to do, though I said I was not sure it would be of 
any avail. 

I went to Chicago, where General Watson was the President's per- 
sonal representative at Cardinal Mundelein's funeral. On my return I 
found that with winter settling over Europe and the Nazis making 

Politics returns 205 

no conquest after dividing Poland with Russia, politics again be- 
came a topic of conversation in Washington. House Majority Leader 
Rayburn was certain that Roosevelt would be a candidate and would 
win reelection. If the President turned down the nomination, Rayburn 
said he thought it would go to Garner, Hull, or me. I told him and 
others, who were just as certain that the President would not run, 
that the time was not one for politics. I confidently expected to be 
in the national defense picture and was willing to let politics rest. 

Two days later, October 20, 1 rode up to the Capitol to have lunch 
with Jack Garner in his office. "Politics is what I invited you up here 
for," he said. "I want to tell you exactly where I stand, so that you can 
govern yourself accordingly. As you know, I am opposed to the third 
term business. It's bad for the country and bad for the party and bad 
for the Boss. I don't know what the Boss is going to do, but I know 
he doesn't dislike third term talk and he's doing nothing to dis- 
courage it." 

"That's only natural," I put in. "Presidents find it hard to believe 
anyone can fill their chairs. Alice Longworth told me her father be- 
gan to worry about the future of the country as the time came for 
him (Theodore Roosevelt) to turn over his office to Taft. Joe 
Tumulty said that Woodrow Wilson had similar fears, and I under- 
stand Coolidge spent restless nights in his final days down the Ave- 
nue. Not that they wanted to stay particularly; they didn't like to see 
themselves replaced." 

"Maybe so," he said thoughtfully. "I am not worried about the 
Boss. It's those people around him. I have no confidence in them. If 
he should be reelected, the situation which exists today would con- 
tinue. All they are interested in is staying in power. They have no 
interest in the party or the country. I don't think that they give a 
damn for the Boss at heart. They would climb onto Wallace's coat- 
tails without giving him a second thought, if they thought they could 
sell him to the people, which, thank God, they won't be able to do. 
He's a dangerous character, Jim, not because he's bad at heart, but 
because he doesn't know where he's going." 

"I agree with you thoroughly on the men around the President," I 
said, "I am convinced that those about him have no genuine affection 

206 Jim Farley's story 

for him or they would not ask him to carry them along. After all, 
he's had four years as Governor of New York and will have had eight 
years in the White House. That's twelve long, trying years. I doubt 
if he can stand the strain of another four years, particularly war years. 
Those around him shouldn't ask him to put himself in a position where 
he would be shortening his days." 

"God knows I hope nothing happens to him,' 7 Garner said earnestly. 
"I don't want to have to go down there. Jim, he and I have had our 
differences, as you know, but I feel they have been due to bad advice 
he has been receiving. I have more honest affection for him in my 
little finger than they have in their whole bodies. I don't want to have 
anything happen to him and I don't want his job. But I can't swallow 
this third term as Vice President with him. I don't even know whether 
I'd vote for him, if he were nominated. I absolutely will not run for 
a third term as Vice President with him. I don't want to run for 
anything, but if no one else will come out against him for a third term, 
I'll do it, even if it's only for the record." 

"I feel the same way; as far as I am personally concerned I would 
be better off if I were not nominated for either place, because I would 
be in a position to recoup my finances," I said. "Of course, to be 
absolutely frank, I would find it hard to turn down either nomination, 
if they should come my way. It would be a great honor and one which 
I just couldn't bring myself to turn down. That may not be modest, 
but it's truthful." 

"I know," he said. "I'd like to go back to Texas and I hope I will." 
Tears stood in his eyes. "But there must not be a third term. How- 
ever, we could go on like this all afternoon. We've talked this over 
pretty much before. What I want to know is a number of things. 
I'd like to ask you a few questions, which you can answer or not, 
as you see fit." 

"I'll do my best," I invited. 

"First, what will your attitude be if the Boss doesn't come out?" he 

"Well, that would be hard to say right now," I answered. "Just be- 
tween us and in the strictest confidence I have not told another soul 
Roosevelt has indicated he will make known his attitude after the 

Politics returns 207 

first of the year. Since time must pass, it's hard to say right now what 
I would do, as circumstances will naturally play a large part in my 

"Fair enough," he said. "Now then, I take it you still feel as you 
told me you did some time ago on the third term?" 

"I think it would be a mistake," I said. 

"So I gathered," he said. "Finally, can you be persuaded or brought 
around to the conviction that Roosevelt will have to run for a third 
term to keep us out of war?" 

"Don't disturb yourself about me," I answered. "Just have con- 
fidence in me and trust me to make the right decision at the right 
time. Frankly, I'm sure the Boss doesn't want to run again, although 
a lot of pressure will be brought to bear by those around him, as you 
are aware. The whole situation may clear itself in time." 

"That may be, but I am concerned about the United States, and so 
is Cordell Hull. He's very much worried that the President may be 
talked into running. Mrs. Hull had talked very frankly to Mrs. Garner 
about his concern for the country." 

"I know how Cordell feels," I said. "Just as you and I do. None of 
us can help but be concerned. I must say, however, that there is only 
one thing that would cause me to change my mind about the third 
term and that is if the very existence of the country were threatened. 
I don't mean a threat, but actual danger." 

"I don't want him to run again nohow," Garner said. "I don't 
want him to run, whether we are at war or not. I don't foresee any 
possibility of our national existence hanging by a horse's hair, but I do 
see dangerous precedent in this third term business. You know, in 
spite of all this talk, the Boss could never be a dictator, but someone 
could come along who might be." 

We talked about delegates. Garner said that I would probably go 
into the convention with more than he or Hull, adding I would have 
to make the decision in time, perhaps, as to whether I should not take 
the nomination myself, or as to which way I should throw my strength. 
"Jim, I have great confidence in you," he said earnestly. "I feel that 
you would probably be the best President of the three of us. I have a 
high regard for you personally, for your ability, for your judgment, 

208 Jim Farley's story 

for your loyalty, and for your integrity. Yes, you could do a great 

I must admit I was pleased and flattered by his words, and was 
happy to have this great man consider me worthy of the nation's 
highest office. No man resents mention of himself for that office, no 
matter how much he may protest. I told Garner quite honestly that I 
was deeply moved by his confidence, but I was inclined to think that 
the convention would decide between Hull and himself, and that I 
considered it proper such a choice should be made. If a situation should 
develop where there would be positive strength for me for first place 
in the convention, that was a decision I would have to resolve for 
myself. It might be that I would have to take it, although I saw no 
reason for daydreaming over that possibility. 

On October 27, 1939, I had lunch with the President, right after 
Henry Wallace shattered the unnegotiated truce on partisan politics. 
With the 1940 presidential election a year and eleven days off, the 
Secretary of Agriculture told an audience at Berkeley, California, "The 
war situation obviously makes it clear that the President's talents and 
training are necessary to steer the country, domestically and in its 
foreign relationships, to safe harbor.' 7 Republicans sputtered indigna- 
tion. At the White House Steve Early told newspapermen, "It would 
have been kind and polite of the speaker to have consulted the victim 
before he spoke." I was not so sure that the President had not been 
consulted, feeling that Henry, although prone to fly off at a tangent, 
would hardly take such a step without authorization. Finding the 
President in an excellent humor, I brought up Wallace's third term 

"I see by the papers Henry Wallace is out stumping," I opened. 
"I wonder if you ran across the item." 

The President chuckled. "What did you think of it?" 

"I think it was very stupid," I said studying him closely. "I think 
it was unwise to talk politics at this time. He gave the Republicans 
ammunition by putting us in a position where it could be charged 
that we were the first to begin political activity in the war period. 
And it was bad to bring up the third term question, just as things were 
moving so well within the party." * 

Politics returns 209 

"Yes, I'm satisfied with the present situation in the party/' he said. 

"The situation will continue all right, too, if you don't introduce 
anything controversial in the next Congress, and if there is no more 
bad political timing on the part of Wallace and others." 

"Oh, Henry means well, but he just isn't politically minded/' 
Roosevelt said airily. 

"If you just confine yourself to defense matters, Congress will get 
along all right," I said. 

"You know I'm a bit disturbed about that," he said. "Congress 
would like to run away with appropriations for defense. I'm worried 
about the budget. I don't want to give the Republicans an issue by 
having it get too far out of line, as it will if Congress takes the bit in 
its mouth on defense appropriations. We ought to have some sort of 
plan to keep the Republicans from making an issue of the budget. 
Maybe we could get some additional funds by raising income taxes 
for the fellows in your class and mine." 

"Boss," I said jokingly, "I don't care what they do about the fellows 
in your class, but I'm in trouble in my class as it is now. I had to 
borrow money to pay my taxes this year." 

"I didn't have to borrow this year," he said, "but I did last year. We 
ought to have a plan of some sort, though, to make it easier for the 
party nominee, if Congress runs away on defense appropriations; and 
there has been some suggestion of readjusting income tax brackets to 
get more revenue, without dipping into the mass of people in the 
lower brackets." 

The President said nothing about his own candidacy and neither 
did L I went away feeling that he had not been entirely unaware of 
what Wallace was going to say, although he was apparently a bit 
annoyed over its reception. If he had sent up a trial balloon, he must 
have come to the conclusion that the move was ill-timed. 

The Cabinet meeting was given over that afternoon to a lengthy 
consideration of the case of the United States freighter City of Flint, 
which had been overhauled by a German warship and made a prize of 
war because it was carrying a large quantity of oil to Britain. The 
Germans put it into the Russian port of Murmansk, posing a neutrality 
problem for the Soviets. President Roosevelt called for a strong hand 

210 Jim Farley's story 

in dealing with the Russians, not only because the lives of the Ameri- 
can crew would be endangered if the Germans decided to attempt 
running the British blockade, but because he held it necessary to be 
firm with Russia, which he then regarded as an aggressor nation. At 
this meeting the points of the indignant note, ultimately sent to the 
Kremlin, were outlined. 

Early in November I dropped in on Secretary of State Hull and 
found him exercised over the proposal to transfer American ships 
to the flag of Panama in order to circumvent the Neutrality Act. He 
said that the President was in favor of making the transfer, disclos- 
ing he had argued that to do so would be an indefensible violation of 
law. Hull said he had told the Boss that the party situation was all 
right again, with the passage of the joint resolution lifting the arms 
embargo, which had been signed a few days before as Congress wound 
up its work. Hull had warned that transfer of American ships might 
stir up everything again. 

"His mind is evidently made up," Hull said. "Apparently he has 
been listening to those people around him again. I made no impres- 
sion on him not the slightest dent. My situation is not good to say 
the least." 

"No matter what situation develops between you and Roosevelt," 
I said, "under no circumstances should you resign in protest. You have 
carried on for almost seven years in the face of many disappointments 
and now is not the time to be getting out of the picture. That would 
be surrendering to that group, and the country needs your advice and 
counsel going into the White House, whether or not it is followed." 

"It is my intention to follow all international phases and develop- 
ments as I have in the past and to report as well as I can to the White 
House," he said slowly. "I am pleased that you do not want me to 
leave the picture at this time. I hope I can maintain that confidence." 

I was satisfied that Hull would stay. We discussed the political 
situation. I told him quite frankly that he, Garner, and I might have 
to sit down some time and decide upon a course of action. He agreed 
that such would seem to be the case. In his round-about way, he made 
it clear, as he had in the past, that he had no sympathy with a third 

Politics returns 211 

On November 10, 1939, President Roosevelt asked me to stay after 
the Cabinet meeting. He asked what was being done about the Jack- 
son Day dinners, saying again that it would be a good idea to have 
Republican leaders present to give evidence of united national senti- 
ment in the face of the European war. He said the presence of Re- 
publicans would have a wholesome effect on the defense program. I 
said I would have to take the question up with Charley Michelson. 

I did not like the idea. I felt it was a shallow subterfuge at best, 
but he would not let me forget it. He went so far as to suggest names, 
including Senator McNary of Oregon and Congressman Joe Martin 
of Massachusetts. On November 21, 1939, he called me into his office 
for a brief conference on the invitations. I told him I would try to 
handle the matter by phone as the situation was delicate and one which 
required tact. He approved. 

"By the way, Jim, I've been thinking about the meeting of the 
Democratic National Committee," he said. "I think it would be all 
right to have it in January. You could then pick the convention city. 
I think it would be a good idea to have the convention after the Re- 
publicans hold theirs. We might postpone our convention until the 
Republicans meet/' 

"I think that's perfectly silly," I said. "The leaders won't stand 
for it. As it is, it will take all of July to get in shape for opening the 
campaign in August. If we wait until August, we won't be ready to 
open the campaign until the first of September." 

"Well," his face fell, "don't say a word about this to anyone. 
Maybe we can talk about it later." I said I would keep his suggestion 
to myself. "Incidentally, who do you think the Republicans will nom- 
inate?" he asked. 

"At the moment it looks like Taft or Vandenberg," I said. "I don't 
think Dewey will make it." 

"You may be right," was his only comment. 

As I was leaving the Cabinet meeting on December 8, 1939, the 
President beckoned to me, signaling I should remain behind. 

"Jim, I've got quite a problem on my hands," he said after the 
others had left. "It's the appointment of a new Secretary of the Navy, 
to succeed Swanson." 

2i2 Jim Farley's story 

"What's wrong with Charley Edison?" I asked in surprise. 

"Nothing, exactly," was his answer. "I have a high regard for him 
and he's done a good job as Assistant Secretary. But between you and 
me, Jim, it is rather difficult to carry on with him because he's so 
hard of hearing. He's a perfectly wonderful fellow and I wouldn't 
hurt him for the world, but I'm afraid he won't do." 

"I'm sorry to hear it," I said. "Have you anyone in mind?" 

"What do you think of Frank Knox?" he asked. 

"Do you really want to know or have you already made up your 
mind?" I countered. 

"I want to know, really," he said. 

"Frankly, I am not keen for bringing a Republican into the Cabinet 
at this particular time, or I might say, at any time," I said. "There are 
qualified and able Democrats for the job. But while I feel strongly 
on that, let's look at the difficulties in the way of the appointment of 

"They can be taken care of," he broke in. 

"Maybe they can, but there's a question as to whether you would 
want to do it," I persisted. "If you name Knox, you would have to 
have Edison's resignation, because I'm sure he expects the appoint- 
ment. If he is let out, it might have a bad effect. You might be sub- 
jected to considerable criticism." 

"Oh, I have that all figured out," he said lightly. "There won't be 
the slightest trouble. The best way to handle it would be to have Frank 
Hague name him as a candidate for Senator or Governor and he'd 
resign to run for office." 

"Have you talked to Hague?" I asked. I could think of nothing else 
to ask at the moment, because I was thrown for a loss by the boldness 
of the scheme. 

"No, but that's where you come in, Jim," he smiled engagingly. 
"You call him up and tell him I want it. I'm sure he'll go along." 

"I suppose so," I acknowledged. "I understand he's away, but will 
be back by Christmas." 

"That's too late, Jim," he said. "I want to do it this week. You 
find out where Hague is and get him on the phone." 

Politics returns 213 

"I'll talk to Hague," I promised, "but I just can't see the appoint- 
ment, Boss. Knox was Landon's running mate, and you'd have a 
Republican observer in your Cabinet." 

"Aw, come now, Jim," he chided mockingly. "Republicans aren't 
that bad. Remember that under our democratic form of government 
they have votes too." 

"Yes, but they only count in Maine and Vermont," I said jokingly. 
"Why, Knox may be a candidate for the Republican nomination and 
participate in party primaries." 

"Oh, I'll tell him beforehand that if he participates in Republican 
primaries, he'll have to get out," he looked at me out of the side of 
his eyes. "Besides, I don't think he'd get out and it would embarrass 
the Republicans a lot." 

"Boss, he just couldn't do that," I said. "After all, he was nominated 
for the Vice Presidency by his party and owes the party strict regu- 
larity for that honor. He's under obligation to the party. Anyhow, I 
think it would be a great mistake." 

"Well, you'll call Hague," he said. "By the way, I meant to tell 
you about this some time ago, but it just kept slipping my mind. Get 
it in shape for next week." 

I had a little trouble reaching Hague. When I did, Jersey City's 
Mayor agreed to nominate Edison for governor if that was what the 
President wanted. I called Roosevelt by phone and reported Hague's 

"Fine, Jim," he said. "Good work. Now I can go ahead." 

"Boss, if I could say a word and I have given this thing a lot of 
thought I wish you wouldn't do it," I said. "You know how I feel 
about the Republican end of it, although I have nothing against Knox 
personally; I don't know him." 

"Knox might not accept, but I think he would," he said. 

"If Knox wouldn't take it, that would be good news to me," I said* 
"I think you should give the job to Edison. I think he deserves it. He 
won't hear any better in Trenton than he does in the Navy Depart- 
ment and New Jersey is an important state. I want to remind you 
that Hague is a hard taskmaster and he might want Charley to keep 

Ji* 11 Farley's story 

certain obligations that Charley wouldn't want to fulfill. I don't think 
it would be fair to Charley to get him involved. He's an honorable 

"Well, we'll see," he said. 

Shortly afterwards, Ickes and I had lunch. He sought the meeting 
in order to talk over the candidacy of Paul McNutt, which was ap- 
parently distressing him. He could not see McNutt for first place, or 
for Vice President in the event the President tried for a third term. 
Ickes was bitter in his references to McNutt, and held the latter's 
selection for either place would be "a terrible thing," and "the worst 
thing in the world that could happen to the country." He declared 
himself for the third term. He said he would hate to see Garner nom- 
inated, but I gathered he would support Hull. 

Ickes volunteered that the thing that disturbed him most about 
the President was that he would make promises and not keep them. 
Ickes said the one ambition he had when he came to Washington was 
to have the Forestry Service shifted from the Agriculture to the In- 
terior Department. The President, he said, blessed the proposed shift 
and promised to support it. He said he had asked Roosevelt to speak to 
Wallace about it and the President said he would. But the bill author- 
izing the transfer died. Some time ago, Ickes said, he asked Wallace 
if the President had spoken to him on the matter. Wallace said the 
President had never mentioned it, Ickes concluded. 

On December 8, 1939, 1 spent an interesting hour with Hull. I told 
him that a situation could develop at the convention where Garner, 
Hull, and myself would have most of the delegates in the convention 
no matter what the President did. 

"Now, I want to be entirely frank with you," I said. "I will do all 
I can to get delegates for myself. At least that is what I think would 
be best. I think you and Garner should do the same. Then the three 
of us can sit down and determine what is best for the country and 
the party." 

"Fve done nothing, but I think that after the Jackson Day dinner 
Pll let my friends speak," he said slowly. 

"Neither have I, and I don't think I will do anything until the 
spring," I said. "I have said nothing publicly that would permit any- 

Politics returns 215 

one to do anything for me. Nor have I been active privately. I have 
been getting a line on the situation, so that 1 will be ready to act. I 
will talk with you and Garner again in January." 

"Jim, I find myself in a most delicate situation/' he said. "Above 
all things I do not want the impression created that I am trying to get 
glory out of my handling of the situation abroad, nor do I want it to 
appear that I am capitalizing on my achievements in the State Depart- 
ment. I am content to let all credit go to the President as is fitting and 
proper, because it is his administration after alL If he chooses to ac- 
knowledge my services, that is another thing. So far, he has shown 
no disposition to do so." 

"That is not surprising, because that is his way," I said. "From my 
attendance at Cabinet meetings I know the great part you are play- 
ing in the international situation. I am aware of the value of your 
contribution. In time, I am confident, the country will know 
whether or not the President chooses to speak out. I think there is 
a growing realization of your worth, as is evidenced, to be entirely 
frank, by the widening mention of you for the Presidency." 

I feel certain that had Hull declared himself, and permitted his 
friends to work for him, he would have secured the nomination 
hands down. A boom for Hull would have gathered the momentum 
of a landslide and the President could not have opposed him. I could 
have done a job for him as I did for Roosevelt in 1932. Without the 
slightest shadow of a doubt, in my mind, Hull could have been elected 
in 1940. I am equally convinced he would have made a great Presi- 

On December 14, 1 had a half -hour conference with the President, 
largely given over to consideration of appointments. I found him 
chuckling over clippings of editorials taking McNutt's presidential 
candidacy over the jumps. 

"Paul seems to be getting into trouble in a lot of places," he said. 
"He's getting a general razzing around the country." 

"I hate to say, 'I told you so,' " I said. 

"Paul didn't make a very good impression at the Gridiron dinner 
either," he laughed. "Well, he's getting a lot of experience in running, 
even if he isn't getting any place." 

216 Jim Farley's story 

Supreme Court Justice Pierce Butler had died, which placed a 
Court seat at the top of the list of unfilled jobs. 

"What about Senator O'Mahoney?" I suggested. 

"Joe is your friend," he countered. 

"Of course, but don't hold that against him," I laughed. "What 
about J. F. T. O'Connor of California? He's another friend of mine." 

"I don't know that he'd be for us," he smiled. "I guess there is 
nothing for me to do but to appoint Frank Murphy." 



ON THE MORNING of December 16, Jack Garner called me from 
his Washington Hotel apartment, saying he had arrived in 
town in advance of the opening of Congress and that he 
wanted to see me before he went to the White House, where he had an 
appointment. We had breakfast and explored the political situation 
for almost two hours. 

A day or two later came real action on the political front. Vice 
President Garner tossed his familiar Stetson into the 1940 ring with, 
"I will accept the nomination for President. I will make no effort to 
control any delegates. The people should decide. The candidate 
should be selected at primaries and conventions as provided by law, 
and I sincerely trust all Democrats will participate in them." 

Hull called me to get my reaction. I told him I thought the timing 
was bad, that it would receive a bad press and that I didn't think it 
would help Jack's position. I told Garner the same thing by phone. 
On December 22, the Garner statement came up as I sat with the 
President between the silken American and presidential flags* flank- 
ing his desk. 

"Now that Jack Garner has become an author," I said, "I think you 
ought to let him make the Jackson Day speech. You should yield to 
younger men." 

"Frankly, Jim, what do you think of Garner's chances?" he asked. 

"Meeting frankness with frankness, I don't think Jack wants to 
be President/' I answered. "I am convinced he made his announce- 
ment only because of his opposition to the third term. I think he just 
wants everyone to understand that he is willing to let his name go 
before the convention, if necessary, in order to stop a third term." 

Roosevelt was thoughtful. Finally he shook his head sadly. "I just 
don't understand Jack," he said, "And I'll tell you why, in con- 
fidence. Once when he was in the White House attending a lunch- 


2i8 Jim Farley's story- 

eon we discussed 1940. The luncheon was with Congressional lead- 
ers. After all the others had left, with the possible exception of Barkley, 
Jack came over and patted me on the shoulder asking, 'Are you going 
back to Hyde Park after 1940?' I told him I was. Then Garner said 
he was glad because he was going back to Uvalde. Now, in view of 
that, you'd think he'd understand I was telling him, in so many words, 
that I was not going to run. I have proceeded on the theory that he 
would not, in view of his words. I think he should have accepted my 
assurance, provided he was thinking clearly." 

"Boss, I have known Garner a long time and I have never seen 
him when he was not in full possession of his faculties," I said. "He's 
very careful of his health, as you know, and is a nine o'clock fellow." 

I did not reveal that Garner had told me the story himself, because 
the Vice President had repeated the conversation in confidence. 

Roosevelt said he was going to name Myron C. Taylor, retired head 
of United States Steel Corporation, as his personal representative at 
the Vatican, to work for peace in Europe. I told him the appointment 
was satisfactory in every way to me and bound to be well received. 
He also told me that he had definitely made up his mind to put Frank 
Murphy on the Supreme Court and to move Robert Jackson, present 
Solicitor General, in as Attorney General. 

"Boss, to return to politics," I said. "I think that sometime after 
the first of the year you and I had better have a talk on the political 


"Grand idea, Jim," he agreed. "Suits me to a C T J and I hope we can 
make it a long one." 

"I haven't discussed the conversation we had last July in which 
you confided you would not be a candidate," I said. "People have 
been asking me for advice Senators, Congressmen, national com- 
mitteemen, state chairmen, and other leaders. I have been stalling them 
off. But there will come a time when we have to face the facts, and 
the sooner you and I clear up the situation, the better it will be all 

"I agree one hundred per cent," he said. 

"I think that there will be plenty of time after the Jackson Day 
dinner," I said. 

Garner's hat in ring 219 

"Oh, I'll want to talk to you before that," he said thoughtfully. 
"We ought to get it out of the way before that time." 

That same day I visited Harry Hopkins in his Georgetown home. 
When I called, Miss Marguerite Le Hand, the President's personal 
secretary, was also paying a visit. Hopkins looked pale and feeble, but 
his eyes were alive with energy, which gave indication that he might 
return to his post, though none of us had expected him to sit in the 
Commerce chair of the Cabinet again. 

In a jesting way I told Hopkins that I was managing Garner's 
campaign, but was wondering whether I should not shift to McNutt. 

"McNutt is at the bottom of my list," he said somewhat shortly. 

"You are quite complimentary, because he isn't even on mine," I 

"He had no business going around telling people he had the Boss's 
blessing," Harry said. "He hasn't had a kind word." 

A week later I reported to the President that I had called a meet- 
ing of the Democratic National Committee for February 15, 1940, to 
select a convention site. He approved and was pleased at my further 
report that the Jackson Day dinners were getting along all right. 

"By the way, Jim," he said, "rumors are reaching me that Senator 
Wheeler and your friend, McNutt, are giving the impression that the 
administration is for their candidacy." 

"I thought McNutt was your friend," I countered. 

"Yes, just as close a friend as Burt Wheeler," he laughed. 

On December 30, 1939, Edward J. Flynn, Bronx leader, told me 
he was of the opinion that the President would not run. He said I 
should let my name go before the convention. He said the President 
could not fail to support me for the Vice Presidency, if I were nom- 
inated with Hull. 

On the last day of the year, the President appointed Charles Edison 
as Secretary of the Navy, which was pleasing to me. I called to con- 
gratulate Charley and learned that the President had sent for Edison 
and at the end of a chat, told him he would be named to the Cabinet. 
Edison expressed appreciation of rny efforts in his behalf. 

On January 3, 1940, I had a visit with Anna Boettiger, the Presi- 
dent's only daughter, and her husband John. They asked me how I 

220 Jim Farley's story, 

thought the President looked. I said I thought he looked tired, that the 
strain was telling on him. Anna said that when she first came east 
on vacation, she thought her father looked well, but when she saw 
him under pressure in Washington, she thought he looked tired. John 
and Anna said it was quite apparent to them the President was anxious 
to get away from Washington. 

Later in the morning I received a telephone call from Malvina 
Thompson, Mrs. Roosevelt's secretary, saying Mrs. Roosevelt would 
like to see me. My afternoon was full and I so reported. After this 
was relayed, Mrs. Roosevelt carne on the phone and asked me to come 
to dinner for a discussion of Democratic women's plans. The Presi- 
dent, Missy Le Hand, and some young fellow connected with the 
Navy Department were at the table, along with Mrs. Roosevelt and 
myself. The Boss was in high spirits. 

"Jim, I have the grandest joke for you," he confided. "I had Garner, 
Barkley, and Rayburn in this morning for a conference on the anti- 
lynching bill. And you'll never guess what Jack said. Very seriously 
he said that he had given considerable thought to the legislation and 
that he felt that the colored vote in the border states and in northern 
cities was such that he thought the legislation had to be passed." 

Roosevelt threw back his head and laughed till tears came to his eyes. 

"Don't you love it?" he asked. "Jack has done a complete about 
face on it now that he's out looking for votes. Don't mention it to a 
soul, though." 

"Boss, it's really childish not to mention it," I said. "You are going 
to be reading about it, because some of the Congressional leaders are 
bound to talk." 

After Mrs. Roosevelt and I had disposed of the women's problems, 
I went upstairs with the President to listen to a rebroadcast of his 
message to Congress on the state of the Union. He enjoyed every bit 
of it. I have never been able to listen to my own voice with any en- 
joyment, but he was his own best audience. He relished every bit of 
Republican applause for his statement on budget balancing. 

"That shows you can have your cake and still eat it," he said. "I 
put them into a hole with that one." 

Garner's hat in ring 221 

He was delighted with the shot he took at Senator Borah by his ref- 
erence to people who professed to have more and better information 
than the State Department and were positive there would be no war. 

"Well, Jim, a while back I told you we'd have a long talk about the 
political situation. What do you think about a date for the conven- 

"Boss, I think it would be a mistake to set it back too far," I said. "I 
don't think it should be in the latter part of July." 

"Let's see, the boat races will be on in Poughkeepsie the last week 
in June and I hope to be at Hyde Park then," he mused. "Maybe it 
could be about July 15 or July 8. Set it when you like. What about 
the city? I prefer Chicago." 

"So do I, but I don't know if Chicago will give us the money," I 
said. "I think Philadelphia and San Francisco will offer more money. 
Fm not keen for Philadelphia, but if they put up more money, I don't 
see anything to do but take it." 

"Possibly so," he agreed. "I'd like Chicago and a late convention, 
after Congress is out of the way." 

"Congress was in session during the 1932 convention," I reminded 
him. "Again, I must say we can't hold a convention too late, because, 
while we can set up a headquarters, we can't put it in operation before 
the convention because we don't know who the nominee will be." 

Then I looked him square in the eyes and said, "And there will be 
a new national chairman and the new chairman will want to set up 
his own show." 

He made no comment on my announcement that I did not expect 
to remain at the helm of the party organization. We talked about a 
temporary and permanent chairman. I maintained that we would have 
to consider Senate Majority Leader Barkley and Speaker Bankhead 
because of their positions in Congress. 

"Barkley's long-winded and will have to be told to hold himself in," 
he said. 

On January 17, 1940, 1 had lunch with Jack Garner. He reiterated 
his opposition to a third term and again said he had no desire to be 
President, but added, "No man could refuse the call of his party and 

222 Jim Farley's story 

his country, if it should come." He said he preferred to go back to 
Uvalde and live for ten or twenty years. The next day the President 
and the Vice President sat one on either side of me at the Jackson 
Day dinner. We chatted lightly during the course of the meal. Roose- 
velt's laugh rang above the rest when I opened my remarks with, "Fel- 
low candidates." 



IN THE NEXT few weeks I saw literally hundreds of persons, all of 
whom had the same major concern the 1940 presidential nom- 
ination. There were members of Congress, political leaders, busi- 
nessmen, professional men, and newspapermen by the score. It seemed 
to me that the time had come for a showdown with the President, since 
my friends in Massachusetts were pressing me to enter the state's 
preferential primary. I sought an appointment and saw the President 
at lunch the day after his fifty-eighth birthday. 

"Boss, a situation has arisen which I must discuss with you," I said. 
"I am going to be frank with you and I want you to be equally frank 
with me." 

"Sure thing, Jim," he invited. 

"I don't want to get into a discussion as to what will happen next 
month or in March or in April. I am now confronted with a proposi- 
tion on which I must make a decision. I want your approval of what- 
ever position I take. The Massachusetts and New Hampshire pri- 
maries are coming up." 

"Is Garner going to enter?" he asked eagerly. 

"That I don't know," I said. "I imagine he will enter if I don't/' 

"I don't think Garner could win in Massachusetts," he said. 

"I don't either," I agreed. "The problem is, however, whether I 
should enter my name. I propose to file in both states unless you have 
any objection." 

"Go ahead, Jim," he laughed. "The water's fine. I haven't an objec- 
tion in the world." 

"Now, Mr. President, do not say yes to this arrangement unless you 
are thoroughly in accord with the course of action, which is suggested 
by William Burke, Democratic chairman of Massachusetts," I cau- 
tioned. "Burke says that if a delegation is not filed, a half dozen sets 

224 Jim Farley's story 

of delegates would enter the primary and disturb the party's position 
in the November election." 

"I think it's a grand idea," he said. 

"I don't want you to say so unless you are thoroughly in accord," 
I persisted. "I don't want somebody coming to me a couple of weeks 
from now saying that you said you could not say no at the time." 

"I am in accord, Jim," he said. "Go to it. Nobody will be running 
to you with anything different." 

(Within two weeks of the conversation, Senator David I. Walsh 
of Massachusetts came to my office saying he wanted to discuss the 
state's delegation. He said he had just seen the President and would 
like my side of the story. I gave the story as I have told it. When I 
came to the final words, Walsh interrupted me. 

("Stop, Jim," he said, putting up his hand like a traffic policeman, 
"that's exactly what happened. His version was not quite the same 
as yours, but he did tell me that he could not say no to you.") 

I must make it clear that I did not regard the President's approbation 
in any degree as approval of my candidacy, although I did regard it 
as in line with his statement that he would not be a candidate. As a 
matter of fact, I was not asking him to approve my candidacy in 
seeking his approval to enter the Massachusetts primary. 

We discussed the convention date, agreeing that it would be best for 
me to appoint a committee to set the date, with the understanding that 
it would come a week after the Republican meeting. We also discussed 
the place and he declared himself against New York, San Francisco, 
and Philadelphia, regardless of what money they might tempt the com- 
mittee with. He said he was for Chicago for a number of reasons, in- 
cluding the fact that Mayor Kelly would be able to control the gal- 
leries. I gave little thought to the remark at the time, but it was brought 
home to me in Chicago in July. We then came to the candidacy of 

"If Wheeler should be nominated for President, I'd vote for a Re- 
publican," he said. 

"Boss, you couldn't do that as the head of your party," I interjected. 

"Oh, yes, I could," he snapped. 

A few days later Senators Clark of Missouri and Johnson of Col- 

Farley's hat in ring 225 

orado came to sound me out on the possibility of a Farley-Wheeler 
ticket. I said I could not make a combination with anyone. 

My filing provoked quite a flurry in the press, as was to be expected. 
It was considered in some quarters that I had New England's 82 con- 
vention votes in the bag. Hardly had I acted when the third termers 
got busy. Pressure was brought to bear on Democratic leaders. Some 
yielded and hastened to get in line, with what they considered might 
be the trend, by announcing various votes were pledged first to Roose- 
velt and second to Farley. The efforts of these leaders to "get right" 
were more amusing than anything else. They were in a bit of a panic, 
being desirous of holding White House favor and yet having no desire 
to offend me. 

I was unmoved by praise or criticism until Ernest K. Lindley, the 
President's official biographer, published an article purporting to be 
the answer to the third term riddle. Supposedly, the President was an- 
swering direct questions from a Democratic stalwart. I understand 
that the article was inspired by an exchange between the President 
and veteran Congressman Bob Doughton of North Carolina. I want 
to be most fair about this episode because nothing which ever hap- 
pened to me politically so wounded me as this article, not so much 
for itself but because it was generally believed that it had been in- 
spired by the President, and he took no step to offset that impression. 

The article said the President had declared he would not run again 
unless Britain were overrun by Nazis, that Hull was his choice for his 
successor, that the Vice Presidency lay between Jackson, McNutt, 
and Wheeler, and, finally, that I was not a sound vice-presidential 
candidate because of my religion. Roosevelt was reported to have said 
that he owed more to me politically than to any other person, not 
even excepting his wife, but in the event of my nomination, people 
might say "we were using Cor dell Hull as a stalking horse for the 

At his press conference the President was asked to comment on the 
article. He said he had not read it. Newspapermen felt this was rtot 
true. If he hadn't, he was the only person concerned who had not 
done so. A dozen people called it to my attention before eight-thirty 
o'clock the morning it appeared. It is hard to imagine the White House 

226 Jim Farley's story 

people had failed to bring it to his attention at once. What was harder 
to understand was why, once it had been brought to his attention, he 
did not do something about it. 

As I said, I want to be as fair as I can. Many of my friends were con- 
vinced that the President had deliberately inspired publication of the 
story in order to take me out of the picture, either by giving the story 
to Lindley or by sending Lindley to get it from Doughton. I would 
prefer not to know the worst. I have never asked Doughton about it; 
nor did I question Lindley as to the source of his piece. I did tell him 
I believed his story was accurate. I do not say that Roosevelt inspired 
it. I sincerely hope that he did not. If he did, I say that he was guilty 
of one of the most unfriendly acts in politics. If he did not, I say he 
should have moved to correct the impression the story created. And 
I say this, aware that the story probably did me more good than harm 
as it rallied the forces of toleration to my defense. 

I went over to see Hull, feeling I had to talk out the situation with 
someone. I found him puzzled. 

"Cordell, I want to be as objective as I can about a matter which 
touches me deeply," I said. "I do not believe the President told the 
story exactly the way it was published, but I believe that, in general, 
the story presents his view. I can't conceive of him . . . no, let's say 
I don't want to think of him as counting me out on religious grounds; 
but I can believe he discussed it. What I can't understand is why he 
didn't say something after the story was printed." 

"Without doubt the President should have done something about 
it," Hull said. 

"Well, one thing is definite," I said. "I'm sure the President will try 
to prevent me from having a place on the ticket. I want you to know 
I understand that and want you to govern yourself accordingly. We 
have had no understanding and that is just as well in view of this situa- 


"Jim, I want you to know that I do not share . . ." 
"Let's not go into that now," I broke in. "I want to be able to say 
I have made no commitments and I want you to be able to say the 
same thing. I'm not sure but what this thing is being shaped against 
us from across the street." 

Farley's hat in ring 227 

Involuntarily, we both looked in the direction of the White House. 

'What I don't understand is the story that Roosevelt is for me," 
Hull said. "I am sure he doesn't want me." 

"With that I agree," I said. "But the situation may move beyond 
him. Unless he takes it himself, which he has told me he will not, then 
he can't in all likelihood put over one of his own group like Wallace 
or Jackson or Douglas. Most of the delegates will be for Garner, Hull, 
or me. He won't take Garner; he won't take me; that leaves you." 

"I find it difficult to understand his turning against you," Hull said. 
"He owes you so much." 

"Since 1928 I have given unceasingly of my time and loyalty 
to advance his cause, even to my personal disadvantage," I said. 
"Through the years I have been told how ungrateful he is. You are 
aware of that, too." Hull nodded. "I dismissed all those observations, 
feeling that things would work out all right in the end. Now this has 
happened. Well, I don't propose to go off the track. I will do all I 
can to keep the party on its traditional course. I hope you will do the 
same. But I want you to know that if I think that the proper course 
is to let my name go before the convention, all the Roosevelts in the 
world couldn't stop me." 

Former Governor Cox of Ohio told me he had mentioned my name 
for second place to Roosevelt, and the President had said he was not 
afraid of the religious issue but felt a Hull-Farley ticket would not be 
pleasing to liberals. At this time Ed Flynn had talked with the Presi- 
dent and reported that Roosevelt told him he wanted to retire to Hyde 
Park, as of the moment, but that a situation could develop abroad 
which might cause him to change his mind. 

At first I was for a showdown with the President, but as my mind 
cooled I decided the proper course was to keep my temper and bide 
my time. I resolved, however, to let him know I was annoyed. 

At the Cabinet meeting of March 8, 1940, 1 made no comment until 
the President got to me. I said I had nothing to offer, in such a way 
as to indicate I wanted no conversation with him. He remarked, rather 
vaguely, we were getting out a lot of interesting stamps and made 
some comment on the Pan-American stamp which he had designed. 
I studied the table in front of me. It was obvious to all that I was ir- 

228 Jim Farley's story 

ritated. He talked about joining in the celebration of penny postage in 
Canada, mentioning that he and I could participate in an international 
broadcast marking the event. I was as cold as ice, saying I thought he 
should go on the program alone. 

"I'll see you tonight, Jim," he said after an awkward pause. It was 
evident to all I was resentful of the situation which he had allowed to 

"Mr. President, you are not going to see me tonight," I said. "I must 
go to a social gathering of Democrats in Queens Borough and I am 
going to broadcast in connection with the anniversary Farm Dinners 
from New York." 

He shrugged and went on to Secretary of Navy Edison. 

On March 16, 1940, I talked to Frank C. Walker, who had assisted 
in the financing of the Roosevelt campaign for the nomination in 1932. 
In discussing the President's failure to repudiate the Lindley story, I 
said I wasn't going to say anything about it to the President, but would 
handle it in my own way at my own time. I told him I wasn't going 
to get angry but I did feel very much hurt. I was aware he would carry 
back what I was saying to the White House, so I told him I would 
follow a course of my own after proper consideration of the picture 
with those I considered my friends. 

That Saturday night I made the principal speech at the annual ban- 
quet of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the Mayflower Hotel in 
Washington. The society, as some may not know, was founded by 
men of Irish descent back in colonial days, to give comfort and aid 
to Irish immigrants, regardless of religion, on their arrival at American 
ports. George Washington was an honorary member of this organiza- 
tion of good Samaritans, which is now a social organization in Boston, 
New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Washington, meeting every 
St. Patrick's Day except, as was the case that year, when the day of 
the gentle Patrick falls on Sunday. I took the time and the occasion 
to answer the Lindley article in my own way. Before that friendly 
group and over a nationwide hookup, I said, with all the sincerity in 
my soul: 

We must never permit the ideals of this Republic to sink to a point 
where every American father and mother, regardless of race, color, or 

Farley's hat in ring 229 

creed, cannot look proudly into the cradle of their newborn babe and see 
a future President of the United States. 

As might be expected, the sentence rang from one end of the country 
to the other. It was not new, but it was a truth that needed restatement. 
I had uttered the right words with the right accents and they could 
not fail to find a warm reception in all hearts and minds. Monday 
morning White House Secretary Early called me to give the Presi- 
dent's congratulations on my remarks, adding that Roosevelt was pre- 
paring to answer the Lindley article at his next press conference. I 
told him that it was too late, that too much time had elapsed for a de- 
nial to carry any weight, that the harm had been done and the entire 
matter could be forgotten, as far as I was concerned. Nonetheless, at 
his next press conference, in answer to a "planted" question, the Presi- 
dent belatedly said that not one word of the story was true; that "it 
was made out of whole cloth." He grasped the opportunity to hit at 
columnists generally, saying that they were right only twenty per cent 
of the time and soft-pedaled their errors. Lindley stood his ground, as 
well he might, because he knew he was voicing the sentiments, if not 
the actual words, of the man in the White House. 

I did not see the President again until April 16. We had lunch. I 
found him studiously cordial in manner and overly friendly. He began 
by mentioning that he was prepared to appoint my brother, Tom, as 
Federal marshal for our district in New York. He had promised to 
make the appointment earlier in the year. After the Lindley story I 
discussed the matter with Tom and we agreed it might not be a good 
idea to accept it in view of the circumstances. I told the President Tom 
was perfectly satisfied on the Boxing Commission and advised him to 
forget the appointment. 

We talked about everything and nothing. It was evident the Presi- 
dent wanted to talk to me more about the situation but he didn't know 
how or where to open up. I studied him closely. He appeared to have 
lost much of his former fire. He looked tired and his color was bad. 
I remember thinking that it was a crime that the people around him 
were urging him to be a candidate again. After all, he had or would 
have had twelve long years in Albany and Washington, which had 
taken their toll, and he should not be called upon to face another four 

230 Jim Farley's story 

years, possibly more exacting than all those which had gone before. 

We talked about routine appointments. He mentioned Senators 
Barkley and Byrnes for temporary Chairman of the convention. 1 
told him I thought the place ought to go to Speaker Bankhead. 

4 'Jim, have you heard talk of giving Governor Lehman the compli- 
mentary vote of New York State at the convention?" he asked. 

"It hasn't been brought to my attention," I reported. 

' 'Several people have talked to me about it," he said. He lighted 
another cigarette. I thought his remark was going to lead somewhere 
so I waited. 

"You know," he resumed, "I think there are about ten or twelve 
men who have a good chance of getting the nomination. Fm going 
to put the names in an envelope and take them out after it's all over." 

"There's no sense in putting more than six names in it," I said. "Will 
yon put down Garner's name?" 

"He can't be nominated," he said by way of dismissal. "I think the 
whole thing is just balmy." 

"Maybe so, but I hear efforts are being made to take the Texas dele- 
gation from him, and I think that would be a mistake," I said. "I think 
he is entitled to the vote of the delegation, a courtesy vote in recogni- 
tion of his long service to the party and the nation." 

After lunch we went to the opening ball game. I rode out to the 
park with him. As we passed the Washington Hotel, where the Vice 
President lived, he brought up Garner again, saying the Vice President 
didn't have a chance. Then he lowered his voice to confide that he was 
for Hull. 

"That's one candidate you and I can agree on," I said. "You couldn't 
find a better choice." 

I reported the conversation to Hull, who told rne that once, late 
in 1939, when he and Roosevelt were discussing some problem, the 
President said, "That is something the next President will have to 
worry about, and that will be you, Cordell." Hull said he was going 
to sit tight and rely on the President's word. I agreed that was the 
only thing to do. I understand Roosevelt never discussed the Presi- 
dency with Hull again until the day he told Hull he was going to run 
for a third term and asked Hull to take second place on the ticket. 

Farley's hat in ring 231 

In this period Mrs. Farley happened to be seated at the President's 
left at an official White House dinner one night. He remarked to her, 
"I'm having a terrible time, Bess; they're trying to make me run and I 
don't want to." He looked at her with an engaging smile. 

"Well," Mrs. Farley answered, "you're the President, aren't you? 
All you have to do is tell them you won't run." He blinked surprise 
and turned to the lady on his right. 

On April 30, 1940, Basil O'Connor, former law partner and close 
friend of the President, came to see me, saying that he had attempted 
to patch the rift between the President and myself. 

"I talked with him about what I called the Farley situation," O'Con- 
nor reported. "I asked him why he did not sit down and talk things 
over with you. I told him that he could explain his position to you. He 
answered that there is no reason to do it now. I must admit I didn't 
do anything about the situation; I got just exactly nowhere in my ef- 

O'Connor said the President indicated he would reluctantly take 
Hull. Roosevelt talked about Jackson and Wallace for the Vice Presi- 
dency, mentioning Rayburn as a possibility. O'Connor was of the 
opinion that Roosevelt would not be a candidate unless an unforeseen 
situation should develop abroad. 

What Basil told me confirmed my suspicions that the President never 
wanted me on the ticket. O'Connor said that the President had not 
asked him what he thought of running for a third term. Basil said that 
had Roosevelt done so, he would have told him frankly that it would 
be a terrible thing. I know he would have done so, because O'Connor 
never hesitated to speak the truth to his long-time friend. He did so to 
the end. I feel he was possibly the only person who did so in Roose- 
velt's last years. 

From the time of the Lindley story the President virtually ignored 
me, I was not invited to the White House except when my position 
in the Cabinet made an invitation imperative. Taking a cue from the 
White House were many who had professed to be my friends. They 
avoided me as though I were the plague. Some channels of informa- 
tion dried up. One of the most amazing evidences of the extent to 
which I was cut off came from the State Department. Some time back, 

232 Jim Farley's story 

an Assistant Secretary of State had promised to help in the prepara- 
tion of a couple of speeches, one which I had promised Senator Tru- 
man of Missouri I would deliver at Fulton, Missouri. Another one 
was to be on foreign affairs. The Assistant Secretary reported the 
speeches had been sent to my New York office. They did not show up. 
Finally, Ambrose O'Connell, First Assistant Postmaster General, went 
to the official, who frankly confided he was under White House or- 
ders not to help me and asked that I should not embarrass him by call- 
ing on him. I sent word that I would not. 

I was no longer consulted on even the most trivial of appointments. 
I found the White House was dealing directly with political leaders 
and members of Congress and members of the Cabinet on these mat- 
ters. It was evident that the President didn't want to talk to me, that 
he was going out of his way to avoid any meeting that might lead to 
a discussion. I met the situation by staying away from Washington as 
much as I could. I made up my mind to keep my sense of humor and 
not to lose my temper. Stories and editorials began to appear in the 
press about neglect of me. Housing Administrator Nathan Straus 
brought me word that the White House "palace guard" realized the 
anti-Catholic campaign against me had failed and that they were going 
to take the slant that I was not a liberal. He was one of m^ny good 
friends who remained faithful in spite of the fact I was out of favor. 
The antiliberal campaign gave me a laugh, because I had supported 
the President faithfully on all legislation, and a great deal of it might 
never have been enacted without my eff orts. 

On May 9, 1940, 1 had another long talk with Hull, who said he was 
so worried over the foreign situation that he had no time to give to 
politics. He said he was naturally grateful for the many generous of- 
fers of support and approval he had been receiving from people 
throughout the country. We talked about the Gallup poll results, 
which showed Hull stronger than Roosevelt. He disclosed that he had 
learned from sources within the White House that the President was 
not pleased over them. 

"The President has never talked a word of politics to me," Hull 
said. "He may be assuring others that I am his choice, but I find it hard 
to believe." 

Farley's hat in ring 233 

"I am sure that he will accept you, if he is not himself a candidate," 
I said. "I am not going to tell you that he prefers you, but I think he 
will have to take you. Meantime, there is nothing for you to do but 
go along as you have been and see what happens. I think you should 
go along, unless you decide to announce yourself or let your friends 
announce you. Should you do that, which you have shown no disposi- 
tion to do, you would get the nomination, as I have indicated to you." 

"Jim, I've told you that in view of the world situation I do not feel 
I should use my position to seek office," he said. "I can only put my 
trust in what the President is telling everyone, even if he does not see 
fit to confide that trust in me." 

"There's no denying it; Roosevelt is a strange man," I said. "He's 
the author of all my present troubles." 

"God, Jim," Hull exploded with feeling, "you don't know what 
troubles are. Roosevelt is going directly to Welles and Berle. I was 
never even consulted on the Welles trip to Europe. Then he's by- 
passing me by going to ambassadors. He's in communication constantly 
with British leaders and others. He doesn't consult with me or confide 
in me and I have to feel my way in the dark. I have the devil's own time 
keeping him from issuing statements that would be most detrimental. 
He only discusses matters with me when he feels that he is obliged 
to do so because of their importance. Troubles! You don't know what 
they are!" 

I was forced to laugh at myself and acknowledge that there was 
much truth in what he had to say. I told him to keep the flag flying, 
and went on my way comforted, but regretful that so splendid a 
character was receiving such treatment. 

In the middle of May I went out on post office business to Detroit 
and Milwaukee. I stopped in Chicago, where I received a visit from 
Mayor Kelly. Kelly expressed himself convinced the President would 
be nominated, and urged me to remain so I could maintain a position 
of influence during the next four years. He wanted to know if he 
could talk to the President for me. I answered bluntly I knew where 
to find Roosevelt, and added that no real friend would urge him to 
run again for many reasons. I said he could retire to Hyde Park to a 
well-earned rest and maintain a position of great influence, confident 

234 Ji m Farley's story 

of having earned a great place in history. Kelly said Roosevelt could 
win. I acknowledged this, but said his victory would not be as easy 
as that of 1936. 1 also said that Hull could win more easily than Roose- 

The Cabinet meeting of May 17, 1940, was concerned with the sit- 
uation in France. Roosevelt said there was about a fifty-fifty chance 
the French would hold out. He brought up the possibility of a Ger- 
man victory and what our attitude might be if a German purchasing 
commission came over in search of materials. He did not reach any 
conclusions, but contented himself with making observations on the 
possibility. It was evident that the President 'was running the Army 
and the Navy, and that he would try to direct all the efforts which 
would be made in connection with the coordination of government 
and industry. I dictated my observations of that date as follows: 

"I think the President is getting jittery. I am really fearful that if 
the President is elected for a third term he may not be able to stand 
up physically under the strain and he will let those around him get 
into a situation which will be bad for the country and himself." 

After the Cabinet meeting he asked me to talk to him about George 
Starr, postmaster at Seattle, Washington, who was up for reappoint- 
ment. He said he understood there were some objections to the re- 
appointment of Starr. I said there were none, except that Starr and John 
Boettiger, Roosevelt's son-in-law, had had some differences over news- 
paper mail charges. I showed him a report of the inspection division 
of the Post Office revealing Starr's office was one of the best conducted 
in the country. He brushed this off by saying inspections didn't 
amount to much. I said that Starr's rating was high and that there was 
no valid excuse for not reappointing him. Roosevelt went into a long 
involved story, which I did not consider to the point. He then sug- 
gested giving consideration to Howard Costigan of the Washington 
Commonwealth Federation. 

"Mr. President, while I don't think Costigan is a Communist, he's 
way to the left, as has been brought out in Hugh De Lacy's campaign 
for mayor of Seattle in the last few weeks," I said. "And the Com- 
monwealth Federation has tried to usurp functions of the state Demo- 
cratic organization. I don't think that should be tolerated." 

Farley's hat in ring 235 

Somewhat grudgingly he acknowledged that was correct. 

"Personally, I have no interest in Starr, except that you would be 
doing a faithful servant a grave injustice if you do not reappoint him," 
I said. "All you have against him is the complaint from John Boettiger. 
If John had not complained, he would have been reappointed without 

"Well, a lot of objections have been raised against Starr/' he said 
doggedly. "One of them is that he didn't cooperate politically." 

"What about the Hatch Act?" I challenged. 

He had no answer for that. I left after he said he guessed he would 
have to reappoint Starr. I said he wouldn't regret it. (The appointment 
was made.) 

Before I left we talked about Speaker Bankhead for temporary 
chairman and Senate Majority Leader Barkley for permanent chair- 
man. He had told Charley Michelson they would do. 

"Charley told me you are satisfied with Barkley and Bankhead," I 
said. "They are fine with me, because we will be taking the two top 
men in the party." 

"What do you mean, 'top men in the party'?" he snapped. 

"The two top men in the legislative branch of the government/' I 

"That's better," he said. 



IN THESE WEEKS and the weeks before the convention just ahead, I 
was called on to make the most difficult decision I had ever faced 
in my life. It was evident to me that the President was going to 
run again, or rather that he was going to permit himself to be persuaded 
to run by those about him, on the ground that he was an indispensable 
man. I find it hard to say just when this realization dawned on me. As 
far back as ^937 I was suspecting things from the way he spoke of 
possibilities for a successor. Then I had his personal assurance he would 
not run. Still I was not easy. Suddenly, the fact was before me and I 
had to decide my course of action. 

My decision was not an easy one. There was no doubt that if I came 
out against the third term, I could make myself a big man in the eyes 
of the country. But I was not seeking personal aggrandizement. I 
knew that if I left the Cabinet I would be deserted by many who pro- 
fessed to be my friends, and that I would have to ask true friends to 
stay away from me for fear that I might injure their futures. Days 
stretched into weeks as I turned the problem over in my mind. Nightly 
I walked the streets of New York and Washington debating with 
myself. I tramped miles around the reservoir in Central Park. I paced 
the reflecting pool from Washington Monument to the Lincoln Me- 
morial for many more miles in Washington. I took to dropping into 
churches at late hours. I must have aroused much conjecture from 
many who recognized me. For a tall man, I have a short stride, but 
make up for it by a rapid pace. I must have appeared to the casual 
watchers to be going somewhere, when the truth was I had no idea 
where I was going. 

I was and still am opposed to a third term. I honestly do not believe 
that any real friend of the President should have urged a third term 
upon him. I was aware that the Republicans could conduct a f ormida- 


Making my decision 237 

ble campaign on the third term issue. A most bitter campaign could 
bring about his defeat, although I felt that at that moment he could be 
elected, provided the war continued. The Republican candidate had 
not been selected, but it appeared to me then it would be Senator Taft 
or Senator Vandenberg. I did not want Roosevelt to place the party 
in jeopardy by running for a third term, when a candidate like Hull 
could have been certain of victory. Modestly, I say I could have helped 
Hull if I were on the ticket as Vice President, but I believe Hull could 
have made it with any one from a field of candidates. 

On May 21, 1940, "Chip' 7 Robert, Secretary of the National Com- 
mittee, went to the White House for a chat with Harry Hopkins, 
who was regarded as the master mind of the third term drive. Chip 
was as much in the dark as I was about what was going on of a political 
nature in the White House. He told me the story of the meeting. 

"Is Jim still running for President? " Harry asked derisively. 

"I don't know," Chip answered. (And he honestly didn't.) "What- 
ever happens, Jim will be all right and can't be criticized." 

In a more pleasant tone Hopkins told Chip that he regarded the 
situation between the President and Farley as "an appalling thing." 
He then proceeded to blame Tommy Corcoran for the situation and 
was bitter about Ben Cohen, Corcoran's partner in the administration. 
Hopkins said it was "too bad Farley's brother had not been named a 
judge." (Of course, my brother Tom was not aspiring to a judgeship 
but to be a United States marshal, an ambition which he had volun- 
tarily abandoned.) 

I had lunch with Garner on May 28, two days before my fifty- 
second birthday. 

"Jim, what's the Boss going to do?" asked Garner. 

"Your guess is as good as mine," I answered. "I've given up guess- 

He looked at me sharply and read what was in my eyes. I was 

"I guess he's going to run," he said. 

"Well," I laughed, "to quote our old friend Cordell Hull, it begins 
to look that way." 

"Hell, he's fixed it so nobody else can run now," Garner said. "I 

238 Jim Farley's story 

wouldn't have gotten in myself or I wouldn't have handled myself 
. . . Ah, well, there's no use watering spilt milk." 

"I went along with the assurances he gave me that he wouldn't run," 
I said. "So did you and so did Cordell. And we are all left high and 
dry. Al Smith warned me never to rely on Roosevelt's word. I laughed 
at him. So did others and I laughed at them. Now he's laughing at me 
and at us." 

Garner ripped savagely at his cigar. "What are you going to do if 
the Boss wants the same ticket reelected?" 

"I'll answer that with a question: Are you going to let your name 
be presented for President?" I asked in turn. 

"I certainly am," Garner said. "And for two reasons I really want 
to go bacl^to Uvalde, and I am against this third term business. What 
about you? Are you with me?" 

"I'll know better when the President makes his decision," I an- 
swered. "The way I feel now there is only one honorable course in 
front of me and that is to register my protest against the third term 
without injuring the party. I'm not satisfied how that is best to be 
done. Put your trust in Farley, though." 

We shook hands on it. 

Senator Chandler of Kentucky was called to the White House at 
this time for a bedside conference with the President. Roosevelt told 
him he was not going to run, but was in search of a good, strong candi- 
date. "Happy" suggested I be given consideration, reporting to me 
that this suggestion awoke no presidential enthusiasm. I thanked him 
for advising me of the conversation, and told him I hardly expected 
enthusiasm for anyone from that quarter short of one man Franklin 
D. Roosevelt. 

On June 5, 1940, I had visits from Ed Flynn and Frank Walker. 
Both argued at length that I should manage the Roosevelt campaign, 
if the President should decide to run. They acknowledged I had been 
treated badly, although I said I was not complaining. 

"I'm going down to the White House and demand to know what 
Roosevelt is going to do," Flynn told me. "I'm not going to take orders 
from Hopkins, Ickes, Wallace, Corcoran, Cohen, and the rest of them." 

"Maybe he'll tell you what he's going to do, but he won't tell me," 

Making my decision 239 

I said. "I'm not sure whether I'll ask him or wait and let him tell me. 
I'm not going to make any decision today that I can put off until 

Walker told me he would hate to see me break with Roosevelt, al- 
though he wouldn't blame me a bit for doing so. He said a break would 
be bad for the party. I acknowledged that it would not be pleasant for 
me to break with the President, but one of these days I would have 
to make my decision. 

"I'm not going to kid you, Frank," I said. "The President's attitude 
has made leaders feel they can do nothing but string along with him. 
They don't want him for the candidate many of them don't but 
they have no choice unless he makes an announcement of his attitude, 
which apparently he doesn't choose to do, which in itself is an unde- 
clared candidacy." 

On June 12, 1 asked Frank Kelly, Brooklyn leader, what he thought 
I should do. I expected him to follow the Ed Kelly-Frank Hague line 
that I should overlook all that had happened and take over the conduct 
of the campaign for the sake of remaining in the national scene and 
retaining my Cabinet post and party leadership. 

"I'm not one given to passing out advice unless it is asked," he said. 
"Straight from the shoulder, Jim, I'd hate to think of a national cam- 
paign being run without you. Of course, the organization you have 
built will run along for some years yet, but it won't be the same with- 
out you in the driver's seat. But, and a big 'but' it is, Jim, if I had been 
kicked around the way you have by Roosevelt and his crowd, I would 
no more run the campaign than I would jump out of this window." 

He looked down into Vanderbilt Avenue. I followed his gaze and 
had to laugh. I appreciated his frank statement more than he ever 

On June 14, 1 ran into Henry Wallace on the six o'clock train from 
Washington to New York. We had dinner together. 

"Jim," he said, "I don't like it. I want the President to run again 
and I think he will run, but I am very discouraged at the way the thing 
is being handled. Harry Hopkins, Ben Cohen, and Tommy Corcoran 
are doing the contact work for Mayor Hague, Mayor Kelly, and the 
other bosses. They have a group working out the details in an office 

240 Jim Farley's story 

in the Interior building. You know Ben Cohen has an office there as 
counsel for the Federal Power Commission." 

I told Wallace that I didn't feel that the third term was for the best 
interests of the country or the party. I said I had not been taken into 
the President's confidence so I did not know his plans, but I had my 

"There's no justification for the way you have been treated," Wal- 
lace said. "It is difficult to understand. Many things are difficult to un- 
derstand with Roosevelt. There's Ickes trying to grab my Forest Serv- 
ice, and Fm not sure which way the President is going to decide in the 
final analysis, but I'm not going to take it lying down. I don't under- 
stand what he is going to do politically either. In my own case he told 
me over the phone and in writing maybe I should say indicated, but 
he practically told me that it would be all right to have the Iowa 
delegation for me. A few days later he talked to Senators Gillette and 
Herring, Congressman Jacobson, and State Chairman Ed Birmingham 
and told them I was a nice fellow, but I didn't have a chance." 

On June 19, 1940, when I was in Chicago making convention ar- 
rangements I received a call from the President saying he had had a 
meeting with Congressional leaders the day before and Speaker Bank- 
head had remained behind to make a request. 

"The dear old Speaker wants to make a speech as temporary chair- 
man of the convention, Jim," he said, "and you know the dear old 
Speaker doesn't make a very enthusiastic talk." 

"Well, Boss, you will remember that you and I had an agreement 
that Bankhead and Barkley would be temporary and permanent chair- 
men respectively," I reminded him. "Bankhead may make an unin- 
teresting speech but it will be a Democratic speech." 

"Sure, sure, but maybe we could get someone to make a good talk 
along the line," he said* "Maybe we could get a fellow like Senator 
Byrnes, or possibly Senator Josh Lee." 

These were the first words we had exchanged privately in a long 

While I was away Frank Knox and Henry L. Stimson were named 
to the Cabinet in what was widely regarded as a maneuver calculated 
to upset the Republicans in the midst of their selection of a candidate 

Making my decision 241 

to oppose the third term, a project which was becoming more obvious 
as each day passed. I returned to Washington June 2 1 and received a 
visit from Harry Woodring, who was ousted from the War Depart- 
ment to make room for Stimson. 

"It all started with a phone call I got from Ta' Watson (Edwin M. 
Watson, Military Aide and Secretary to the President), a few days 
back/' Woodring began. "Watson said the President wanted me to 
get together with Morgenthau to sell or transfer some army planes to 
England. I told Watson right off that I could not go along with it unless 
the transfer could be made without affecting our defenses. I took the 
matter up with the department and told the generals that whatever 
decision they made should not be changed later on, but should be made 
in the best interests of the country's defense and should be rigidly 
adhered to. I promised I would stand my ground. 

"Watson called several times, urging me to sit down with Morgen- 
thau and give the British the planes. This I refused to do. Then next 
. day I received a letter from the President, written in longhand, tell- 
ing me how much he appreciated what I had done in the War De- 
partment, but stating that things were moving fast abroad and he 
wanted to make some changes, particularly in the War Department. 
He wound up by saying he would like to have my resignation. I took 
the letter home, and that night I sat down with my wife and we wrote 
the answer. I wrote it in longhand, too. I told him that inasmuch as 
he wanted the resignation, I was happy to give it to him. I thanked him 
for his past expression of confidence. Among other things, I expressed 
the hope he would continue his policy of nonintervention because I 
felt it was the best thing for the country. I told him, too, that I was 
satisfied to resign because I did not want to be a party to some of the 
things I saw in the offing. I made that very clear, Jim. I ddn't like it. 

"As soon as I had prepared the letter, I called Assistant Secretary 
Louis Johnson on the phone and told him I had sent in my resignation 
and advised him to take the necessary steps to protect himself. I sent 
a memorandum to the President saying I was not going to release any- 
thing from my office on the resignation, and stating that it would have 
to be done from the White House. I asked that it be done at once be- 
cause I was planning to leave my office immediately and was in the 

242 Jim Farley's story- 

process of moving out. I said I would not do anything that would em- 
barrass the President. 

"Then I received another letter from the President which was type- 
written. This, as you probably saw, was a conventional letter designed 
for public release. He offered me an ambassadorship or the Governor- 
ship of Puerto Rico, but I told him definitely I would not take it. That 
night when I got home, I got another letter from the President. This 
third one was again in his handwriting and begged me to reconsider 
my decision not to take another job. I did not answer it and will not. 
I am going to get out of Washington by the end of this week or next. 

"I have not seen Roosevelt or talked to him. All our communication 
has been by correspondence or through Pa Watson or Steve Early. 
I got a White House call asking me over to the Cabinet meeting. I said 
I wouldn't go. Watson asked me if I was sore, and I told him I was 
not but I didn't waftt to attend the meeting. Just before Stimson's ap- 
pointment was announced, Early called Louis Johnson and told him 
the President was appreciative of his loyalty and service and hoped 
he would carry on if it would be agreeable for him to do so. Later 
Roosevelt called Johnson to the White House where he did not indi- 
cate whether or not he had anyone in mind, but made it rather plain 
to Louis that he would not get the place." 

I listened to Woodring's story with great interest. I was impressed 
with his exhibition of courage and his stand for principle. He refused 
to go against his convictions even though he was aware it would mean 
the end of his Cabinet career. 

Vice President Garner, with whom I lunched, told me that the Cab- 
inet meeting was concerned with the transfer of fifty American de- 
stroyers to Britain, to be conveyed from New London, Connecticut, 
to a British port. These were the destroyers in exchange for which the 
United States secured the right to lease and build bases in British pos- 
sessions from Newfoundland to New Guinea. This transfer was being 
worked up at the same time the White House was seeking to give army 
planes to Britain. 

"The Boss said that the transfer had been cleared legally by the At- 
torney General, and Charley Edison spoke up and said the transfer 

Making my decision 243 

was being arranged over his protest," Garner told me. "The Boss 
didn't like what Edison said, any more than he liked what Woodring 
did. The interesting part is that after the meeting, Attorney General 
Jackson came to me and said that in spite of the statement made that 
he had approved the sale and held it to be legal, he had not made such 
a decision. I told him that he should have so declared himself at the 
Cabinet meeting and I say now he should have said he had not held 
the transfer to be legal, if he did not." 

Woodring's handwritten letter of resignation was never made pub- 
lic. Edison, who also was moved out for opposing White House pol- 
icy, had expected to go sooner or later and did not write a scorching 
letter. However, he was no less firm against a policy which he did not 
believe to be in the best interests of the country. I am satisfied that Edi- 
son and Woodring would have been eased out on one pretext or an- 
other to bring men into the Cabinet, who were convinced that the 
United States should enter the war and would work toward that end, 
while the President was treading softly in the campaign year. I do not 
say this critically, but state it merely as a fact. 

In a few days the Republicans nominated Wendell Willkie at Phila- 
delphia. I must confess that I was surprised by the nomination. I 
thought the regular Republican leaders like Taft, Dewey, Vanden- 
berg, Joseph Pew, and the rest would not possibly go along with him. 
Yet he was nominated. I was not in on the inside of that nomination 
and I cannot speak with any accuracy about it, although I have heard 
many stories about the capture of the GOP by a man who had been a 
Democrat up to two years before the convention met and had told me 
he was a member of my party at our only meeting. 

On the day of the nomination Steve Early called me and read a state- 
ment the White House had prepared for me to release. It read, "The 
nomination greatly clarifies the issue before the nation which is a 
good thing. The question is, of course, what sets of forces, economic 
and social, are to conduct our government the historic American 
processes or some new and somewhat foreign methods of concen- 
trated control. Most of the rank and file Republicans will understand 
this as well as most of the rank and file Democrats." 

244 J* m Farley's story 

I objected to the use of the word "foreign," but there was no argu- 
ing with the White House. 

That afternoon, June 28, 1940, at the Cabinet meeting, politics re- 
placed the foreign situation. 

"We will have to try and break down the aura they are trying to 
build up around Willkie," Roosevelt said. "I want the Senators and 
Congressmen to start in on him Monday/ 7 

Ickes said that a vigorous campaign should be directed at once 
against Willkie, because if the Democrats were put on the defensive, 
it would be a distinct gain for Willkie. The President told him to "go 

to it." 

My contribution was that Willkie might be a formidable candidate 
and it would not be wise to discount him. We all agreed that Senate 
Minority Leader Charles McNary added strength to the Republican 
ticket as candidate for the Vice Presidency. 

Late that same day I had a long talk with Cordell Hull. He was 
thoroughly disgusted with the political situation. Like myself, he had 
taken the President at his word when the latter said he would not be 
a candidate and, as a result, he had not lifted a hand. He said he also 
knew nothing of the Knox and Stimson appointments until he saw 
them in the papers. I asked him whether the President wanted him to 
run with him as Vice President. Hull answered, quite simply, he had 
no political ambitions. I am sure he would have left the Cabinet then 
and there had it not been for the war situation. 

At this time I made up my mind on my question. I decided I would 
permit my name to go before the convention as evidence of my pro- 
test against the third term. I also decided that I would leave the Cabinet 
and the party chairmanship. However, I also made up my mind that 
I would not work for the defeat of my party. Once my mind was 
made up, I had no cares. I realized that I had been fortunate to play a 
part in the national picture. I was determined to make my exit as 
gracefully as I could without any sacrifice of principle or honor. 

The long wait for the first move from the White House came to an 
end July i. Steve Early called Bill Bray, my executive assistant, while 
I was on my way to Chicago. During the course of their conversa- 

(International News Photo.") 

July 7, 1940 Hyde Park, N.Y. During our two-hour private conference in 
his small study, FDR first said: "Jim, I don't want to run, and I'm going to tell 
the convention so." But later in the same talk he volunteered, "Undoubtedly I 
will accept the nomination by radio and will arrange to talk to the delegates before 
they leave the convention hall. . . ." (See page 249.) 

(Acme Photo.} 

July 1 8, 1940 Taken shortly after the peak of my political career, when I was 
nominated for president. Here, after the roll call, I am requesting the convention 
unanimously to nominate President Roosevelt for a third term (see page 291). 

Making my decision 245 

tion Steve indicated, rather pointedly, that he knew the President 
would be glad to talk to me. Early said that any time on Friday, Sat- 
urday, or Sunday would be agreeable. I regarded this as a command 
and phoned Steve to tell him I would drop in Sunday. I hadn't had 
a talk, a real talk, with him since the previous fall, I realized as I hung 
up. I didn't know what was ahead, but resolved to be as friendly and 
frank as I could in the discussion to come. 



THE RIVER WAS melted sunlight as I crossed the George Wash- 
ington Bridge and headed north, my thoughts shuttling be- 
tween the past and the present on the way to the appointment 
I well knew would be a chapter in my country's political history, 
not so much for the men involved as for the issue. For sentimen- 
tal reasons I chose to proceed up through the more familiar coun- 
try of the west bank, making the decision at Mass before my departure. 
As I drove up the Hudson River through Rockland County, I never 
felt closer to my native soil than in that midday drive. 

Here I was born and grew to manhood; here I courted and married; 
here I entered politics, to achieve greater success than I had dreamed 
of; and here my mother and father had returned to cradling earth. 
From the warm kindnesses I had had in the past, I resolved to accept 
what was in store gracefully and calmly. I determined to keep the in- 
terview as friendly as possible. Life is too short to be scarred by furi- 
ous flames of hate, which too -of ten is sparked by hot, heedless words. 
I can truthfully say I hate no man, living or dead. 

From time to time I turned my eyes to enjoy the grandeur of the 
Hudson, but for the most part my attention was on the impending 
meeting. I made up my mind that I would not take exception to any- 
thing that might be said, nor would I rake up irritations from the past. 
I further made up my mind I was not going to hurl recriminations over 
acts I considered unfriendly, nor would I conjure up unfavorable state- 
ments attributed to the President about me from various quarters. I 
wanted him to tell his story in his way and I was anxious to tell mine. 
I determined to be friendly but firm, and not retreat from my position. 

The journey passed quickly. Shortly before one o'clock the car 
crossed to the east bank at Poughkeepsie and along the Albany post 
road to the Roosevelt estate, with its curious old stone fences. The 
President had not returned from church when I mounted the four 


Hyde Park Conference, 1940 247 

steps to the broad front porch from which he had joyously acknowl- 
edged the congratulations of his fellow townsmen on his election to 
a second term. I was met by his mother, who, after a word of greeting, 
said she was wondering whether there was any truth in newspaper 
stories that I would not be around the picture much longer. 

"You know," she added brightly, "I would hate to think of Franklin 
running for the Presidency if you were not around. I want you to be 
sure to help my boy." 

"Mrs. Roosevelt, you just have to let these things take their course," 
I answered. 

At that moment Harry Hopkins came downstairs. We joined Steve 
Early, Missy Le Hand, and Victor Scholis, Hopkins's secretary, for 
a few minutes of light banter before lunch. On the way into the din- 
ing room, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt stopped me in the hallway beside 
the seated, life-size statue of the President as governor. She was "both 
pleased and shocked by the news" in the morning papers that I was 
going into business and leave politics. 

"Of course, I am pleased to have anything happen to you which 
would be personally beneficial, but I am shocked at the thought you 
may not direct things in the coining campaign," she said. 

Then the President came and we all went in to luncheon. There was 
a lot of good-natured conversation during the meal, and some serious 
conversation. The President talked about the complications of the 
French surrender. He assumed f our-fifths of the French fleet had been 
destroyed or captured by the British. 

Somehow a discussion of Andrew Jackson was raised, during which 
the President recalled how the hero of New Orleans was attacked on 
the question of the legality of his wife's divorce. The President's 
mother pricked up her ears at the mention of divorce and, after listen- 
ing a moment or two, turned to me and said, "My heavens! I did not 
know they had such bad things as divorce so long ago." 

While the others were talking I told her how well she looked. She 
regarded me quizzically and then remarked that she often wondered 
whether some people do not live too long. In the next breath, she 
thanked me very prettily for news photographs of her son I sent her 
from time to time. 

248 Jim Farley's story 

Shortly after luncheon, Steve called me from the porch to the Presi- 
dent's study, the narrow high-ceilinged room I knew. As I settled 
myself I noted "Via Crucis," by F. Marion Crawford, among the tiers 
of books. Before we started to talk, Steve was back to say photogra- 
phers wanted a picture of the conference. After the photographers left, 
there was a brief but heavy silence. Occasionally I could hear laughter 
on the porch and the crunching of gravel as Secret Service men and 
New York state policemen went about their duties. It was so hot we 
removed our coats and ties. 

For a half hour or more the conversation was about everything and 
nothing. It was apparent to me the President was having difficulty in 
approaching the subject, and frankly, I was not disposed to help him. 
I made up my mind that I would not open the discussion of his candi- 
dacy. Evidently he realized that, so he took the plunge. 

"Jim, last July when we canvassed the political situation," he began 
with an engaging smile, "I indicated definitely that I would not run 
for a third term. I believe we decided that on or about February i, I 
would write a letter to one of the states which has an early primary, 
stating I would not be a candidate for reelection." 

"It was the North Dakota chairman you were going to write to," 
I said. "In 1932 you announced your candidacy in a letter to Fred 
McLean, then state chairman in that state." 

"Well, after that conversation of ours, the war started and when 
it got along to February i, I could not issue that statement," he con- 
tinued. "It would have destroyed my effectiveness as the leader of the 
nation in the efforts of this country to cope with the terrible catastro- 
phe raging in Europe. To have issued such a statement would have 
nullified my position in the world and would have handicapped the 
efforts of this country to be of constructive service in the war crisis. 

"I must say that I am disappointed that my efforts have not ac- 
complished what I hoped. In all probability it would have been just 
as well if I had made the announcement as planned. We bullied Mus- 
solini in every way possible and tried to get the influence of the Pope 
to keep Italy from getting into war, but Italy went in." 

The President lit another cigarette. He smiled through the smoke. 
I let him go on and talk without interruption, because of my deter- 

Hyde Park Conference, 1940 249 

mination on the morning ride that I was going to let him tell his story 
in his own way. I was equally determined that I was not going to suc- 
cumb to the charm which had beguiled so many, when it came my turn 
to speak. 

"So I would probably have been better off if I had said I didn't 
want to run. I still don't want to run for the Presidency. I want to come 
up here." He swung his left arm in a half circle to take in the cottage 
retreat and library he had designed and supervised. Then he shrugged 
his shoulders in eloquent indication of his conviction that the matter 
had been taken out of his hands by mounting demands that he remain 
at the helm and he said so. 

"Jim, I don't want to run and I'm going to tell the convention so," 
he concluded, his eyes wide in apparent frankness. 

"If you make it specific, the convention will not nominate you," 
were my first words, and I put in them every note of the conviction 
I had. 

"Well, there could be several ways of doing it," he countered. 
"I could write a letter to someone like Senator Norris and decline. (I 
made a mental note to put in a word against employing a Republican, 
but didn't do so because the point was merely academic since he was 
going to run anyway.) Two, I could broadcast it. Three, I could issue 
a statement. And four, I could write a letter to be read by you at the 

"You know, Jim, I want to fully explain my position in order to be 
honest with myself about the situation, because I am definitely opposed 
to seeking a third term," he said. "In justice to my conscience I want 
that thoroughly understood by the delegates and the country." 

I told him that I felt he should do that, and in such a way as to 
leave no doubt in the minds of the delegates or the country as to the 
sincerity and the honesty of the statement he issued; that it should be 
so worded that the delegates should be free to choose someone else, 
if they so desired. He seemed to agree. I then delivered what I had been 
turning over in my mind for months, 

I began with my views on the third term, stating I was against it 
in principle and because the Democratic party had always opposed it. 
Quite frankly, I said, I felt that if the Democratic party was not able 

250 Jim Farley's story 

to campaign on the record it had made under his leadership in two 
terms in other words that if there were no other candidate but him- 
self we deserved to lose. I said there were other men in the party 
who could be nominated and elected* If the convention was left free, 
I insisted, it would turn to these other men. 

He heard me with attention. The smiles were gone. I was very def- 
inite in my statements as I unfolded my views at some length, views 
which were known to him and everyone else. I acknowledged that my 
views were foreign to the present discussion in view of his decision 
to accept the nomination. I said the time had passed when any opinion 
of mine could have any bearing on the convention because he had 
permitted, if not encouraged, a situation to develop, under which he 
would be nominated unless he refused to run. 

"Jim, what would you do if you were in my place?" he asked. 

I thanked him for asking my advice, but countered by saying I would 
never be in his position because I would not have waited as long as 
he had to make my position known. Now, I reminded him, he had 
made it impossible for anyone else to be nominated, because by refus- 
ing to declare himself, he had prevented delegates from being elected 
for anyone except Garner and myself. Many states, I said, had declared 
for him because there was no other course open; that leaders were 
fearful they might be punished if they did not go along with him. 
Further, I added, I would not have waited until that late day to tell 
a person so intimately associated for twelve years, as I was with him, 
what I was going to do. If our positions had been reversed, I would 
have told him my plans long ago, I said. 

In mentioning punishment of Democratic state leaders, I had in 
mind the situation in North Carolina, where an agreement had been 
reached to instruct for Hull, but the leaders had had to do an about-face 
when the President and his friends took exception to a pro-Hull state- 
ment made by Governor Hoey. The President knew, of course, ex- 
actly what I was referring to. He had given Max Gardner, former gov- 
ernor, permission to set up a slate of delegates for Hull. Later, state 
leaders were told to halt instruction of the delegation. 

He mopped his face with a handkerchief. I had more to mop because 

Hyde Park Conference, 1940 251 

my hair has done more retreating. He chain-smoked cigarettes in the 
familiar long holder which had become a symbol for him. 

"Fm answering your question," I resumed, "but you're not going 
to like it or pay any attention to it. In your position I would do exactly 
what General Sherman did many years ago issue a statement saying 
I would refuse to run if nominated and would not serve if elected." 

"Jim, if nominated and elected, I could not in these times refuse 
to take the inaugural oath, even if I knew I would be dead within thirty 
days," he said. 

This statement made a powerful impression on me. And it has been 
etched deeper into my mind by what happened less than five years 
later. I can see him now, with his right hand clasping the arm of his 
chair as he leaned back, his left bent at the elbow to hold his cigarette, 
and his face and eyes deadly earnest. This picture has often been in 
my mind since his death. There was much talk of his physical condi- 
tion for more than a year before his death. I cannot help wondering 
whether during that year he pondered the remark made to me and 
whether he knew he was under the shadow of the dark angel's wings. 
I cannot help but feel those about him knew, if he did not, and over- 
estimated his strength. 

From this point on, the conference lost what pattern of order it had. 
He had made his speech and I had made mine. Now he reverted to his 
customary restless, rambling consideration of a problem, which so 
often reminded me of a pup worrying a slipper. 

He talked on aimlessly about the third term, saying that Grant, who 
had served for eight years, could not push it aside; that Theodore 
Roosevelt, who had served a few months less, could not forego an at- 
tempt to break tradition; and that Coolidge debated long before he 
issued what he described as a "y es " no " statement. I did not press this 
phase of the discussion, because it was more than evident he had his 
mind made up and he was trying to justify his position to me, and also 
seeking to justify his failure to tell me he had changed his mind since 
our last discussion. This failure to tell me personally was serious, not 
only because I was a candidate for the nomination by virtue of the 
Massachusetts primary, entered with his knowledge and consent, but 

252 Jim Farley's story 

also because I was the party's chairman and should have had his politi- 
cal confidence or have been replaced. 

From his fidgeting it was evident he knew he was in a difficult posi- 
tion because he knew and everyone else knew he was going to run 
again. I am convinced, and was during our conversation, that the rea- 
son he did not confide in me was that he was fearful I might take some 
action in Hull's behalf which might prevent his nomination, or injure 
his chances for such renomination. He evidently hoped that this prob- 
lem would resolve itself, as others had with the passage of time, and, 
therefore, put off our conversation until the last possible moment. 

"Now I am going to say something else you won't likq," I told him 
during a pause. "I am going to be entirely frank with you. Notwith- 
standing the fact that^you have put all the other candidates out of the 
picture by maneuvering delegates into a state of mind where many 
feel that they must nominate you whether or not you want the nom- 
ination, I am going to allow my name to go before the convention. 

"I say this in all friendliness and I sincerely and earnestly hope 
you will take it so. My decision is the result of hours of internal debate. 
I walked the streets of Washington at night turning over this problem. 
Quite candidly all of my friends disagree with me. However, it's my 
decision and it is irrevocable. I feel I owe it to my party because of 
the principle involved and to myself because of my position before 
the country which, while not approaching yours, is not inconsiderable. 
To be fully honest, I don't think I could walk down any street and 
meet people, if I did not do as my conscience dictates." 

During my remarks, his eyes were fixed on me. Once or twice he 
nodded. Again he took no exception to anything I said, although I 
pulled no punches. He did not comment on my statement but shifted 
the conversation to Willkie. He said he was not sure he could beat 
Willkie and asked what I thought of his chances. I replied that I was 
not sure either, that Willkie could become a formidable candidate, 
and then again he might turn out to be a flop, all depending on Willkie 
himself. I thought Willkie would make an active campaign, men- 
tioning that he looked well in the newsreels, made a good speech, and 
seemed to have caught on with the public. 

"You are absolutely right," he acknowledged. "You know if the 

Hyde Park Conference, 1940 253 

war should be over before the election and I am running against Will- 
kie, he would be elected." 

I asked him about the chances of Great Britain holding out and he 
said solemnly, "about one in three." 

I went on to tell him that I was not quite clear in my own mind as 
to how he should make the statement of his third term position and 
was not sure that he was either. I charged him not to worry about my 
feelings in choosing among the four ways he had mentioned, that he 
could write to me personally as he desired, since I was not thin skinned. 
Again, I told him my position on the third term issue and my belief 
that it would injure the party. I said many of the delegates would be 
voting for him against their better judgment because of the situation 
he had created, but they would go along like good organization regu- 
lars. In addition to my name, I said, I was certain that Garner's would 
also be placed in nomination. I was not certain what Tydings, 
Wheeler, and the others would do. 

He switched the conversation to a discussion of Hull's possible pros- 
pects, asking whether I thought his Secretary of State could win. I 
answered that Hull would have been a very strong nominee and could 
have been elected. I purposely employed the conditional past to chart 
its effect on the President. He ignored it. I went on to remind him that 
the last Gallup poll showed Hull to be even more popular than the 
President, and told him I was sure in my own mind that Hull could 
be elected, despite his age, by almost the majority the President re- 
ceived in 1936 because the third term issue would not be raised. 

The conversation drifted to vice-presidential candidates. I told him 
that while my position on the third term was clear, I felt that as long 
as he was going to run, I wanted to be on record as saying I should 
like very much to have him take a real Democrat with him, one in 
whom the country had confidence and one who could carry on in 
case anything happened to him. I said that all the talk about Bill Doug- 
las for Vice President was asinine and he quickly agreed. 

"Jim," he asked, "do you think Jack would run with me again?" 

I imagine the surprise I felt showed in my eyes. Garner, I reminded 

him, was opposed to a third term. While I had no right to speak for 

him, I said I felt confident he would not run for the second place even 

254 Ji m Farley's story 

if the President asked him. I told him I believed Garner was hurt over 
the manner in which the President had acted and that their once happy 
relationship had been sorely tried. I added Garner was looking forward 
to the close of his term so that he could return to a quiet life in Texas. 

I said Senator Lucas of Illinois was a candidate. The President 
laughed and dismissed that candidacy with a wave of his hand and the 
remark he had seen some of the very attractive circulars sent out by 
Lucas's committee. He dismissed Governor Stark of Missouri with an- 
other laugh and asked me what I thought about Wallace. 

"Boss, I'm going to be very direct/' I said. "Henry Wallace won't 
add a bit of strength to the ticket. I say that advisedly, although my 
relations with Henry have always been most friendly, as you know. 
He won't bring you the support you may expect in the farm belt and 
he will lose votes for you in the East. Beyond that I would not like 
to see him Vice President, even though I like him personally, because 
I think it would be a terrible thing to have him President^ if anything 
happened to you. He has always been most cordial and cooperative 
with me, but I think you must know that the people look on him as 
a wild-eyed fellow." 

He made no comment on my reply. Now, I am convinced he had 
already made up his mind on Wallace and had determined not to dis- 
close his choice until the last minute in order to keep the field of vice- 
presidential candidates in line for the third term. 

I mentioned Bankhead, whom he dismissed as too old and not in 
good health. 

"The man running with me must be in good health because there 
there is no telling how long I can hold out," he declared. "You know, 
Jim, a man with paralysis can have a breakup any time. While my 
heart and lungs are good and the other organs functioning along okay 
. . . nothing in this life is certain." 

With that he pulled up his shirt, unbuttoned, and showed me a lump 
. of flesh and muscle under his left shoulder, which he said were mis- 
placed because of his affliction. He noted that he must sit most of the 

"It's essential that the man who runs with me should be able to 

Hyde Park Conference, 1940 255 

carry on," he emphasized, tucking his shirt back in and reaching for 
another cigarette. 

It was the first and last time in all the years I knew him that he ever 
discussed his physical condition with me. 

He asked me about Senator Maloney of Connecticut and went on to 
say that a Catholic could be elected Vice President along with him. 

"That's true, but no more so than if the ticket were composed of 
Hull and Farley," I threw in quickly. I looked him squarely in the 
eyes as I spoke and he acknowledged that was so before dropping his 
gaze. This was a most interesting admission, since he had been dismiss- 
ing Hull because of his age and me because of my religion. 

I made no further mention of myself, although this was the first 
time I had ever brought out my position in exactly that way. In my 
desire to avoid the controversial I did not bring up the remarks at- 
tributed to him about the impossibility of my election because of my 
religion. I felt any reference to that might lead to a quarrel, which I 
wanted to avoid. 

I brought up the name of Jesse Jones and he countered that Jesse's 
health was none too good, that he had not fully recovered from the 
effects of the airplane accident he was in during the spring of 1938. I 
was aware that this was an excuse, because I knew Jesse's health to be 
good and knew also that he was never strong for Jesse. When I tried 
almost two years before to have him name Jesse to succeed Roper as 
Secretary of Commerce, instead of Hopkins, he bluntly told me there 
was no reason why he should put Jones in the Cabinet and have him 
start running for the Presidency. This was more than a year after he 
told Bob Post of the New York Times to "go off in the corner and 
put on the dunce cap/' when he was asked if he would accept the third 
term nomination. 

The President said flatly he would not take Jones, Garner, or Ray- 
burn. Next he disposed of Jimmy Byrnes, saying Flynn had advised 
him it would be unwise to name him in view of Byrnes's desertion of 
the Catholic faith many years before. Later I was shocked and dis- 
tressed to learn the President told Byrnes I was against him on this 
ground. In Chicago I discussed this with Byrnes, saying I was not per- 

256 Jim Farley's story 

sonally opposed to him on any ground. I did say that the ticket might 
suffer in some Catholic centers if he were the vice-presidential candi- 
date, but not so much as to endanger victory. 

After his reference to Byrnes, I facetiously said I had a nominee for 
him in Paul V. McNutt, which moved him to laughter and the ex- 
clamation, a We did a good job by bringing him into the administra- 
tion, didn't we?" 

I told the President that, in my judgment, there was only one man 
with whom he should run and that man was Hull. He asked me to urge 
second place on Hull, but I refused, saying I knew how Hull felt about 
both the third term and the Vice Presidency, adding that I certainly 
was not going to urge him to change his attitude. 

Deep in my heart I feel that Franklin Delano Roosevelt deprived 
Hull of the Presidency. I think I can say that in all honesty, having been 
in intimate touch with all delegations. I say this without malice or ran- 
cor. I feel that the party would be in a stronger position today had he 
allowed other men to follow him in the leadership, men who deserved 
laurels for years of faithful party service. 

At this time I brought up my own situation. I told him that under 
no circumstances could I run the campaign, both because of my views 
and because the time had arrived when I must do something for my 
wife and children, that I had already made too many financial sacri- 
fices. I discussed several attractive propositions then before me, not 
mentioning the Coca-Cola Company because I was not at liberty to 
do so. 

During my recital the President's face showed evident concern. He 
sought to get me to stay on, first by urging me to remain for the cam- 
paign and then by suggesting I continue as national chairman while 
in the business world, leaving actual work to a campaign manager. 

I suggested Frank C. Walker as my successor because of his asso- 
ciation with the National Committee as treasurer. The President 
agreed with me and then asked if I thought Byrnes would not be a 
good choice. I said Byrnes would do an excellent job, being one of 
the most able and intelligent men I had come in contact with and, from 
an all-round point of view, one of the most able men in the Senate. 
I suggested Oliver Quayle remain as treasurer, but that someone like 

Hyde Park Conference, 1940 257 

Joseph E. Davies be named Chairman of the Finance Committee. The 
President felt that Chip Robert should not remain as Secretary and 
spoke about criticism leveled at government contracts Chip's firm had 
been securing. 

"Besides," he said, without a smile, "his wife, Evie, talks too much." 

"I think Chip has been subjected to a lot of unfair criticism," I said. 
"Not the slightest irregularity has been shown against Chip or his firm. 
And more than one man has had to bear the cross of a talkative wife." 

He then turned to a discussion of the platform, on which I said I 
did not think there would be any serious debate, except possibly on the 
foreign relations plank. 

"Oh, that could be handled in a single sentence," he said. "We could 
say something like: 

" 'We do not want to become involved in any foreign war. 

" 'We are opposed to this country's participation in any wars, unless 
for the protection of the Western Hemisphere. 

" 'We are in favor of extending aid to democracies in their struggle 
against totalitarian powers, within the law-/ " 

Conversation drifted to convention procedure. Almost as though 
he were thinking aloud, he said he thought that if he sent a letter or 
statement saying he did not want the nomination, it should be done 
right after my opening speech. I said most of Monday morning would 
be taken up with organization procedure. The next morning would be 
taken up with committee organization and the convention would not 
be functioning in order until Tuesday afternoon. 

He wanted to know then whether the platform could not be read 
on Wednesday and the nominations be made on Thursday. That 
would be all right with me, was my answer; but they would want to 
keep the convention in Chicago, and the city expected visitors to stay 
through the end of the week if possible. 

"By the way, Jim, the family is not going to attend the convention," 
he volunteered. "Undoubtedly I will accept the nomination by radio 
and will arrange to talk to the delegates before they leave the conven- 
tion hall after the nomination." 

There were times in the discussion when he appeared to be in doubt 
in his own mind on his position and attitude on breaking the third 

258 Jim Farley's story 

term precedent. On the whole, there was no doubt in my mind then 
that he had made up his mind long before. I am certain he had sold 
himself the idea that he was the only one qualified to serve during 
that particular period of the nation's history and, as it subsequently 
developed, in the next four-year period. 

During the long conversation, which was carried on with studied 
friendliness on both sides, he was not as free as he had been in past 
discussions. He was ill at ease because of the position he found himself 
in, I am sure it did not please him to have to sit and talk with me as 
he did. It was uncomfortable for him as the President of the United 
States to have to humiliate himself by defending himself to me, par- 
ticularly because he had brought himself into the embarrassing posi- 
tion by not being frank with me. 

At length conversation lagged and it was evident that the discussion 
was exhausted. I rose to go, making a commonplace remark about hav- 
ing to get along. As I stood up, he thrust out his hand. 

"Jim," he said with evident emotion, "no matter what happens, I 
don't want anything to spoil our long friendship." 

"That goes for me, and I mean it sincerely," I said. 

"So do I, Jim." 

I left him studying what he called the "jimcracks" on his desk. Per- 
sonally I was glad the interview was behind me. More than ever I 
was convinced of the wisdom of my course of conduct, and I was 
happy that all had gone off without any bitterness or clashes. I had 
lived up to my resolve to avoid a quarrel. 



MONDAY EVENING, July 8, 1940, I left for Chicago and the con- 
vention, fully aware of the strains and stresses awaiting me. 
I knew my role would be taxing physically, but was resolved 
to tread it out on the convention stage like a good political trooper. I 
realized that pressure would be exerted from every point of the politi- 
cal compass to make me pull out of a race which, no one knew better 
than I did, I had no chance of winning. 

My course was to have my name presented to the convention if it 
was the last thing I ever did. I was going to have my name presented 
if I received only one vote. There was no other course open to me 
as I had promised to run in my Springfield, Massachusetts, statement 
early in the year; and, if I failed to live up to that promise, I felt I 
would lose the respect and regard of not only my family and friends, 
but also of everyone who knew me. 

Actually I felt then and I still feel there was only one way in which 
I could fairly and clearly express my opposition to a third term as a 
life-long Democrat and as party chairman. If I came out flatly against 
the third term, every Republican orator in the country would have 
spread-eagled before audiences, using my declaration to defeat my 
party. It was not in me to forge a verbal dagger for my party's back. 
The fact that I had managed every Roosevelt campaign for Governor 
and President and was entering my name against his third term candi- 
dacy, I felt would be sufficient evidence of my position. 

Many of those friendly and sympathetic to me were fearful, I know, 
that I would make some mistake which would react against me; they 
were terribly concerned over the possibility that my pride would be 
mortally wounded. I know that because of the way they ^approached 
me and eyed me as they asked, "Are you all right?" Knowing what 
they meant, my reply was invariably, "Everything is under control," 

I arrived in Chicago Tuesday morning and went with Oliver Quayle 


260 Jim Farley's story 

and Chip Robert to look over hall arrangements. The earliest of the 
party faithful were gathering for the exciting days ahead. Old political 
fire horses come out to rub against political hacks at conventions. Men 
who are big fish in their communities and states, but small fry na- 
tionally, like to look over the candidates. The high moments of by- 
gone conventions are lived over again by the veterans. There is much 
dark whispering of trades and agreements. Even the least important of 
the party can pass judgment on the strategists. Everyone likes to weigh 
charge and counter charge. Everyone enjoys assaying rumors. Many 
like to hold forth on what the various contenders should do and what 
line the party should adopt in order to win in November. Best of all, 
their pleasure really begins when the show is over. They begin to 
shine when they get home and describe convention scenes and the 
part they played in the nominations. They have conversational fodder 
for days, weeks, months, and even years. And the stories gain with 
each telling. 

Wednesday things began to happen. All the leaders in the country 
began trekking to the unofficial Roosevelt headquarters Harry Hop- 
kins and Jimmy Byrnes had in a Blackstone Hotel suite overlooking 
hustling Michigan Boulevard, green Grant Park, and placid Lake 
Michigan. Many never came in to see me at all. A few came in to pay 
their respects to me, and some of those were timidly ill at ease. Others 
were swinging aboard the Roosevelt band wagon. This was perfectly 
all right with me. I had been in politics a long, long time, was well 
aware those things are inevitable, and was fully prepared to meet that 
aspect of the situation. 

Even though my headquarters were very often as deserted as a 
church at the setting of the sun, I was not distressed. The few who 
came cheered me and deepened my determination. 

The Hopkins-Byrnes strategy became clear that day. Every effort 
was being directed at winning the nomination by acclamation, in an 
effort to convince the country there was a real draft. They knew that 
Wheeler would not stay in the race if Garner and I withdrew, so they 
told him the party platform needed the peace plank, dear to his heart, 
perhaps dearer than the Presidency. I was told they were certain Gar- 
ner's name would not be presented formally, although Texas could cast 

Chicago again 261 

her votes for him, if I withdrew. That was the reason for all the 
succeeding pressure brought to bear on me to get out of the 

What I did not like was the hypocrisy: the effort put forth to make 
it appear that the President was being drafted, when everyone knew 
it was a forced draft fired from the White House itself. Many dele- 
gates were sincerely for the President; but I think I can truthfully 
make the statement that the majority were against the third term and 
did not want to nominate him again. I talked with many delegates who 
frankly said they were going along, against their better judgment, for 
one reason or another. 

Curiously enough the Byrnes-Hopkins suite 308 to 309 in the 
Blackstone had once before made political history. It was the 
"smoke-filled room" in which the deal that brought Warren Gamaliel 
Harding to the White House had been consummated on June 12, 1920. 
In July, 1940, Democratic bosses succeeded the Republican bosses of 
the twenties in writing history. Here Ed Kelly of Chicago and Frank 
Hague of Jersey City and Ed Flynn of New York City's Bronx rubbed 
shoulders with one hundred per cent New Dealers like Leon Hender- 
son and Claude Pepper and David K. Niles. 

From the outset the temper of the delegates was bad. While many 
feared to come near me they were incensed over the way I had been 
treated. Their resentment was heightened by anger over the treatment 
they received at the hands of Hopkins. His manner was arrogant 
rather than ingratiating. He offered nothing and demanded blind 
obedience. Murmurings of mutiny grew until the delegates were 
downright ugly, but the President's maneuvering over the years saved 
the day. Delegates lacked a rallying point for revolt and were forced 
to surrender, grumblingly and glumly, on the never genuine threat 
that Roosevelt might not run and thus leave the party without its great- 
est vote getter. 

Early that morning I called Hull to ask him bluntly whether he 
would accept the vice-presidential nomination. 

"I can't take it under any circumstances, Jim/' he assured me. "It 
would be kicking me upstairs and taking me away from the one thing 
I like best to do. I positively won't consider it." 

262 Jim Farley's story 

A short time later mild, mellow and affable Jimmy Byrnes called, 
ostensibly to pay his respects. Before we reached politics, I was told 
Herbert Bayard Swope, who had an appointment, was outside. I asked 
Jimmy to step outside a minute or two and Swope came in, carrying 
information from Washington that the President had told Byrnes I 
was against him for Vice President because he had left the Catholic 
Church many years before. When Swope left Byrnes returned. 

"Jimmy, a situation has been brought to my attention which I want 
to correct here and now," I began. "I have been advised that an im- 
pression has been created in the White House that I am against you 
because you left the Church. Jimmy, no one has any right to accuse 
me of taking that position, and I don't care who he is, because it just 
isn't true. I say to you, very frankly, I am not against you. I do think 
that if you are nominated, your personal situation will undoubtedly 
be brought to the attention of voters, with resulting injury to you in 
Catholic centers. I tell you this as a friend, but the decision is yours. 
In addition may I say, Jimmy, this would not be fatal to your candi- 
dacy, nor would it affect the ultimate success of the ticket and that is 
all that counts." 

Byrnes said he understood my situation perfectly. 

"I want to return frankness with frankness," Byrnes opened. "I 
hope nothing will happen here that will prevent you from running the 
campaign in November." 

"Jimmy, you might as well know it all, if you don't already," I 
answered. "I have told the President that my name is going to be pre- 
sented to the convention. His answer was that he hoped this would 
not be a real test of my strength. Now, I want you to know and him 
to know that I am not interested in a test of my strength. The question 
of votes is of no importance to me. I don't care if I get only one vote. 
But, I feel it is fitting and proper that all the candidates for the nomina- 
tion go before the convention. And I feel very deeply that no effort 
should be made to shut them off. I have heard, in such a way as to be- 
lieve it, that such efforts are being made. I think it will be a mistake the 
party may have cause to regret in November, and if not then, in the 

years to come." 

"Whatever you do is all right with me," Byrnes said. "But I still 

Chicago again 263 

think very definitely that whatever happens, you should run the cam- 

That afternoon Frank Walker came around. We had a long con- 
versation covering much the same ground as Byrnes and I had. 

"I am going to stay at headquarters and the Post Office until Septem- 
ber i," I told him. "I will certainly not stay beyond that, and any state- 
ment to the contrary is not correct. I have suggested you or Byrnes 
as my successor. Before you interrupt, I want you to know the Presi- 
dent has agreed with me that it is all right to resign." 

He eyed me silently, his lips set in a wise smile. He offered little that 
was persuasive and went his way. 

Thursday passed uneventfully in routine visits and phone calls. 
We held the last meeting of the Democratic National Committee, as 
then constituted, to approve the plans of the committee on conven- 
tion arrangements and to fill committee vacancies. This was followed 
by a press conference, marked by the usual fencing on the third term. 

Friday morning Harry Hopkins called. He threw one leg over the 
arm of a chair at my desk. He looked tired; his eyes were sunk deep 
in his pallid face; his scanty hair looked as though it had been combed 
with his fingers. He was restless, constantly fingering a cigarette. He 
had asked for the interview and had dragged his drooping frame across 
the street, which I believe was the heaviest exercise he took during 
the convention period. 

"Jim, I'd like to know what you think is going on," he opened almost 

"Now, Harry, you don't really expect me to answer that/' I coun- 
tered with a laugh. "There is no necessity for me to tell you because 
you are making it happen." 

"Well, what I want to say is that, whatever you may hear, the Boss 
wants you to run the campaign." 

"Be that as it may, I can't discuss it with you," I said, "I discussed 
the matter fully and freely with the Boss in Hyde Park and he 
thoroughly understood and agreed with my attitude or, at least, said 
he did. This I suppose you know." 

He ignored this gambit. 

"What do you think the President's going to do?" he asked. 

264 Jim Farley's story 

"Harry, what's the use of kidding each other about what the Presi- 
dent is going to do? " I replied, striving to keep any impatience out of 
my voice. "We both know very well what he's going to do." 

"Jim, I want to make it clear that I am here on my own and I am 
not acting as the President's intermediary in this call You have my 
assurance on that." 

"There's no necessity for an intermediary," was my answer. I felt 
that he was one whether he came directly or indirectly. "If I had any- 
thing to say, I would say it to the President and no one else." 

"That's right," he affirmed. "By the way, what do you think about 
the vice-presidential nominee?" 

"I haven't given it much thought," I parried, "except that I think 
the Democrats should nominate a real Democrat." 

"How many delegates do you expect to get?" he asked abruptly. 

"I think it will be between 120 and 150 unless pressure is brought 
to bear," I answered, looking him in the eye. He was a bit embarrassed. 
"I want you to know I have never asked anyone to vote for me before 
coming here and I will make no effort to get any delegates. In return, 
I think, no effort should be made to take delegates away from me." 

"Nothing will be done in that direction," he promised. 

Nevertheless, much was done. I didn't ask anyone to vote for me, 
because I was aware of the pressure that would be brought on job 
holders, relatives of job holders, and others. I felt that the Massa- 
chusetts delegates should go along for me because they were pledged 
for me in the primary. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that 
many delegates were swayed from their pledge under pressure. I was 
mindful that some who were pledged to me in good faith, believing 
Roosevelt would not be a candidate, felt they were entitled to switch 
to him. I think the heavy effort made to swing this delegation from 
me was mean and petty. The third termers went so far as to phone 
Ambassador Kennedy in London to urge him to have his son, later 
to become one of the heroic war dead, break his pledge. While Ken- 
nedy and I were never close friends, I am happy to this day that he 
spurned the suggestion, saying the decision rested with his boy; and 
I remember that resolute young voice calling "James A. Farley" when 
the Massachusetts delegation was polled. 

Chicago again 265 

I could have embarrassed many wavering delegates by calling for 
the polling of several states, thus forcing them to go on record with 
me as to where they stood. Doubtless this would have added to my 
votes, but since there was no chance of winning, I decided against 
such a course as of no value except to soothe my vanity. I was finding 
solace enough in knowing that I was holding to principle, so I did 
not need to resort to blackjacking votes. 

Senator Wheeler dropped in for a chat during the day. At that 
time I am sure he was under the impression he would let his name 
go before the convention, but he acknowledged that if the platform 
committee accepted his peace plank, he would have nothing to fight 

"As a matter of fact, I'm in an involved position," he said. "We 
are having a primary in my state Tuesday and I can't say anything 
until it is over,, If this were not an election year, I would raise hell 
for the Presidency." 

Senator Clark came in to explain he was going to cast his ballot for 
Garner, but the Missouri caucus indicated the rest of the votes would 
go for Roosevelt. I expressed surprise, because I thought Joe Shannon 
would vote for me. He said Shannon was very friendly toward me, 
but had voted for Roosevelt at the caucus. 

"I am telling you this because I'd like to vote for you, but I 
promised Garner a year ago that I would vote for him if his name 
would get before the convention," Clark said. "I am against the third 
term and disgusted with everything that is going on here in Chicago. 
But there's nothing we can do about it; the President has the votes 
and will be nominated. Yet, it's a great mistake; I feel it in my 

Silliman Evans, publisher of the Nashville Tennessean, came in with 
Congressman Sam Rayburn in tow. Both were incensed over the way 
Garner was being handled. I did not take Sam's tears too seriously, as 
he was a red-hot candidate for Vice President. He thought it would 
be best if Roosevelt were renominated along with Garner and I were 
selected to run the campaign. 

"That's just impossible," was my comment. 

Senator Pat Harrison came in to pay his respects. Genial Pat was 

266 Jim Farley's story 

one of my Democratic idols. I had no secrets from him, so I told him 
what I was going to do. Pat didn't say much, but what he did say 
made it unmistakable that he was not in sympathy with the drift of 
events. Of course, he could never forgive the fight made by the 
President to prevent his obtaining the Senate leadership. 

Former Attorney General Homer Cummings came in to urge me 
to run the campaign. I don't know whether he came in of his own 
volition or whether he was sent, but I cut his slow, drawling argu- 
ments rather short. 

Sunday, after Mass at St. Mary's, I again talked with Hull, who told 
me he was going to have lunch with the President the next day. I ad- 
vised him that the temper of the delegates was bad; that the real Demo- 
crats were annoyed; that the majority did not want to vote for the 
third term; that if they had their way they would nominate Hull and 
myself; and that they resented the presence of Hopkins in Chicago. 
I emphasized this was not an idle impression but one gathered from 
talking to many delegates, leaders, and newspapermen. 

Secretary Wallace called to say hello and seized on the opportunity 
to stress the necessity for unity after the convention was over. I agreed, 
adding that the fellows with Hopkins were apparently proceeding 
on the theory there would be no election in November, as they were 
scuttling party unity. 

At midnight Ed Flynn and Vince Dailey came into my Stevens 
Hotel offices. By this time I was getting fed up with the parade of 
Democratic leaders, who were urging me to step aside for the good 
of the party. By the time Flynn appeared I was ready to get a load off 
my chest, so I determined to let him have it. Vincent sat stolidly in a 
chair at the side, looking and saying nothing. Flynn sat across from 
me. He was nervous and disturbed; it was apparent he had something 
on his mind and was seeking the best avenue of approach. He decided 
on a direct one. 

"Jim, this isn't going to be easy to say," he began, "but for the sake 
of party harmony, for the best interests of the country, and in the 
interests of world peace, you should pull out of the convention as a 
candidate and continue as party chairman." 

"Now, Ed," I began, "in the first place, I am not going to get out 

Chicago again - 267 

of the race. My name is going to be presented to the convention. If 
I withdraw my name now after telling everyone, my friends and news- 
papermen and women, continuously for weeks that my name is going 
to be presented, I would have to leave town a shamed man, unworthy 
of anyone's respect. I am going to keep my integrity no matter what 
happens. I want to have my self-respect and the respect of my friends. 
My name is going before that convention, as I said it would, so I 
can keep my head up no matter how far I fall in position. 

"I am not to blame for the present situation. It was none of my mak- 
ing. I was led to believe by the President that he would not be a candi- 
date. When I saw him in Hyde Park last July, before I went abroad, 
he told me definitely he would not be a candidate. He asked me when 
the first primary or state convention would come along and I said, 
'The first week in February and I think North Dakota is the state/ 
He said, 'I will at that time write a letter stating I am not a candidate 
for reelection.' And he added that he would definitely make it clear 
that was so, 

"From that day until I saw him last week at Hyde Park, he never 
said a word to me about his candidacy. Then he tried to explain to me 
why he did not issue the statement in accordance with our conversa- 

"For my part, I did not comment on his explanation; I merely told 
him it made no difference what he did next because a situation had 
been created with his knowledge and approval which made it certain 
he was going to be nominated, regardless of what statement he made. 
I told him it had now become a closed case; that he had made it im- 
possible for Hull, Garner, or myself, or anyone else to be nominated. 
He is to blame for the situation that exists here today. You know it; 
I know it; and he should know it, if he doesn't. 

"Ed, I have been in politics thirty-one years. In this period I have 
earned the reputation of being a fellow who tells the truth. I have 
been telling people for months that my name would go before the 
convention. I have been saying it and newspapermen have been writ- 
ing it. The country knows it. If I should pull out now, I could no 
more go to a press conference, after all was over, than I could jump 
out of this window this minute." 

268 Jim Farley's story 

I flung my arm behind me where a window looked out on the Black- 
stone Hotel. 

"I am not going to jump out of this window or any window. And 
I hope the good Lord will spare me for a few years more and that 
I will continue to keep the respect of newspaper folk and other peo- 
ple. Some day I will tell my story, this story, and I am sure, it will not 
be without interest." 

Flynn started to speak but I waved for silence. 

"I'm not through yet," I said. "Some people, and you may be one 
of them, have the false idea that I think I am running for the Presi- 
dency. That's all past . . . it's water over the dam or ambition over 
the dam or whatever you will. I am not running. The President has 
the votes. Everyone knows he has eight or nine hundred votes pledged 
to him. 

"Now, what they want is the few votes that have been pledged to 
me. Hopkins has been attempting, with White House knowledge and 
consent, to have those few votes taken away from me. And why? So 
that the outside world will think this is a 'unanimous draft/ You 
know as well as I that this 'draft' has been cooked up for months. 

"What I am trying to let the people outside understand is that I 
am opposed to a third term. Many of them already know it. Many 
others do not. I have never said so because I did not want the Re- 
publicans to pick up any quotation of mine and go up and down the 
country with, 'This is what Jim Farley says,' to cause the President 
and the Democratic party embarrassment. 

"I love the party. Everything I am I owe to the party. Most of the 
friends I have, I owe to the party. I am deeply aware of this, but I 
don't want anyone lecturing me on my party obligations. I told the 
President and I tell you I have thought out my course of action care- 
fully and at length. Mine is no sudden impulse or fit of piqued vanity. 

"I say to you with all the sincerity of my soul, I am opposed to 
the principle of the third term. I think it is bad for the party and bad 
for the country. And as much as I love my party, I love my country 
more. My family has been in America almost a hundred years. I 
feel we were good citizens because we were good Democrats, but it 
is more important to be a good citizen. The only way I can publicly 

Chicago again 269 

show how I feel, without misunderstanding and with dignity and 
honor, is to permit my name to go before the convention. This is 
exactly where I stand and this is exactly what I am going to do. 

"Carter Glass is coming on to the convention to nominate me and 
Pat Fisher of Rockland county is going to second the nomination. And 
if I only get Fisher's and Glass's votes, that is all right with me. 

"I want you and the others to know I am not looking for votes. 
I have said that at press conferences. No one can show that I lifted 
so much as a finger to get votes here. Before I came here I was not 
seeking votes. 

"The third term fellows are not playing the game on the level; 
every effort is being made to steal votes from me which are pledged 
to me. I am thoroughly disgusted with the actions going on around 
here. For the life of me, I can't understand this giddy performance. 
Hopkins's position here is beyond intelligence. There is no reason 
for this situation and it is all wrong. 

"Finally, I have no desire to embarrass my friends. I am not going 
to embarrass anyone if possible. But if anyone should be found stand- 
ing up carrying a banner for me, they will do so knowing I am stand- 
ing up for a principle." 

Flynn admitted I had a right to take the attitude I did. However, he 
said, he disagreed with my course of action. He felt I could not get 
anywhere in the convention, that my course would be harmful to 
me and not helpful, and that it might be made to appear that I was 
being prompted by some outside source to do as I planned to do. 

"I don't care what anyone says or thinks about my stand," I replied, 
"I am acting on my own. I have been in politics thirty-one years and 
if I leave public life, it will be with my head high. In those years 
I made many sacrifices and am prepared to make more, but if I go I 
will be able to look into the eyes of all of my friends. And when I 
go down the street, it can be said, 'There goes a fellow who at least 
keeps his word!'" 

After Flynn had left, Vince stayed on. He agreed that I had taken 
the only tack I could with Flynn in view of my stand and predicted 
that when Flynn brought that speech back to the third termers, they 
would know what to expect. Vince saw Flynn the next day, and the 

270 Jim Farley's story 

Bronx chairman glumly said there was no sense in trying any further 
to get me out of the race. 

Even so, the third termers did not cease their whittling at my votes 
by persuasion and threats. They went even further and attempted 
to have Glass, weak in body but stout in heart, back out of his prom- 
ise to nominate me. This futile effort to dissuade a Democrat of deep 
conviction and high principle from his commitment I regarded then, 
and still do, as the most reprehensible action I have known in politics. 

I told Dailey I would like to have the New York vote split so I 
would receive 47 votes, merely as a compliment to my party services. 
I felt my services to the party in New York entitled me to that much. 
As an officer of the state committees for twelve years, I had done 
everything in my power physically, mentally, and financially to ad- 
vance the party. I asked Vince to deliver this message to Flynn and 
Wagner. I know the message was delivered to Flynn and to Gov- 
ernor Lehman. They did not go along with me. The reason was that 
the President did not want any opposition candidate to poll over 150 
votes. Hopkins and the others went around with the story that if 
the opposition polled over 150 votes, Roosevelt would not allow him- 
self to be "drafted." 

While Flynn was waiting to see me, I learned later, he told Mrs. 
Jane Duffy, my personal secretary, that his one desire was to see me 
happy and his one hope was that I would not "do an Al Smith" and 
walk out on the party. This gave me a chuckle, for Flynn's idea of 
making me happy was for me to make him the bearer of good tidings 
to Roosevelt, the good news, from the viewpoint of the Blackstone 
suite, being my withdrawal. 



MONDAY MORNING, July 15, 1940, just before I went out to the 
Chicago Stadium for the opening of the convention, I re- 
ceived a call from the White House. This was my first call 
from the President although I had been in Chicago seven days. At 
the moment the call was announced by Mrs. Duffy, my competent and 
efficient private secretary, the thought flashed across my mind that 
here was the final card of the third termers; the charm master was 
about to pull out the tremolo stops and lull my convictions so that I 
might be indentured to the third term campaign. While I had no in- 
tention of stopping my ears, I bound myself mentally to my mast of 
principle. The next moment the familiar voice boomed out with a 
heartiness which was a reasonable facsimile of that I knew so well in 
the 1932 and 1936 conventions. 

"Howdy, Jim," he greeted. 

"First rate," I reported. "How are things with you?" 

"Fine, thanks, fine. Is everything going along all right?" 

"Everything is okay with me, so far," I cautiously conceded. There 
was a brief silence which I broke. "I'm just on my way to the con- 
vention hall; have you got that letter we talked about ready?" 

"Good thing you brought that up, Jim. I just got back from rny 
week-end trip and am going to tackle it this afternoon. I may have 
it ready for you tonight." 

*T11 be right here if you want me." 

There was another brief pause, which this time he broke. 

"By the way, Jim, there are a lot of stories in the papers . . . They 
- are writing stories about there being no need for a ballot." 

The tone of his voice reminded me of the times in my youth when 
I reached a testing toe into the cool Hudson. The long forgotten 
taunt, "Last one in's a fraidy cat," flashed into my mind. I took the 

272 Jim Farley's story 

"That's perfectly silly. There just has to be a ballot. You and I 
both know there must be a ballot and that any effort to prevent a 
ballot or a roll call will be the one thing that's needed to wreck the 
Democratic party in November. It's just too ridiculous to discuss." 

"Of course, of course," he said slowly and, I thought, somewhat 
regretfully. "I agree with you on the situation, but the papers are 

"Once again, I want to say to you that I will handle the situation 
along the lines of our conversation. You can rest assured that every- 
thing will be done on my part to conduct a dignified convention. Some 
people are trying to bully the situation and roll over everyone, and if 
that happens, it will be just too bad. ..." 

"Thanks," he said. "Take care of yourself." 

"Don't worry about me; I'm all right." 

I did not ask him about the contents of the letter or how he was 
going to get it to me, because I gathered that he had no intention of 
releasing it through me. I was sure it had been written by that time, 
because Sam Rosenman had accompanied him on the week-end cruise 
and Sam always turned up when there was an important letter, docu- 
ment, or speech to be written. 

Before the phone call there had been another parade in and out 
of my office. United States Housing Administrator Nathan Straus 
expressed himself disturbed about what was going to happen to me. 
I told him not to worry. Mrs. Anna Rosenberg came in, similarly per- 
turbed, to express the hope that I would remain for the campaign. 
Governor Lehman of New York came in, with dignity enough for 
two, to say he thought I was making a mistake, but did not remain to 
argue. Edward H. Crump, Democratic leader of Memphis, Tennessee, 
came in with Senator Kenneth McKellar. The clerical-faced "Boss" 
repeated the familiar arguments of the Blackstone suite crowd. I told 
Crump, after he had gone on and on, that I could appreciate his point 
of view but apparently it was impossible for him to appreciate mine. 

When I told Crump I appreciated his point of view, I was not talk- 
ing through my hat. I understood the position of Kelly, Hague, and 
Flynn as well as they did. Uppermost in their minds was the success 
of their local tickets. They all felt that if the President was at the 

1940 Convention 273 

head of the ticket, they would get more votes for their local tickets. 
It was as simple as that. 

Senator Millard Tydings bounced in with William Richie, of 
Omaha, cousin of the late Maryland governor, full of high hopes for 
the "stop the third term" movement. I met his enthusiasm with reserve 
and, mindful of the coming presidential message, told him we might 
be in a better position to discuss the movement's prospects on the 

Elliott Roosevelt breezed in for a talk on the situation. I explained 
my position and outlined my course of action. 

"You are all right," he declared, "but there is a lot of guttersniping 
going on across the street." 

In this period not all my callers were seeking to persuade me to 
desert to the third term. Many came to congratulate me on my stand. 
I shall never forget these loyal friends and concerned citizens. Many 
of the party's faithful came, knowing that they were perhaps marking 
themselves in the third tenners' black books, but they walked in boldly. 
Others were surreptitious but nonetheless sincere. 

My last act before leaving for the hall was to call Carter Glass in 
Washington. I was aware of the pressure being put on him by the 
acclamation boys to have him sit out the convention in his home, 
and leave me without my chosen nominator. 

"How are you, young fellow? " I began. 

"Never felt better," his rasping voice came over the wire. 

"Are you coming to our convention?" I asked. 

"It's a fight, ain't it?" he countered. "Try and keep me away." 

"I'm delighted to hear it and I still hope you'll place my name in 
the running." 

"Nothing can stop me, and I mean nothing." 

His assurance was music to me, though it came in a hoarse whisper. 
I told him I was grateful and left for the west side. 

Crowds were milling about the Stadium when I arrived. To me a 
convention has all the drama inside and outside of a spectacle in sports, 
like the world's series, a championship fight or an Army-Notre Dame 
game. I love the holiday mood of the crowd. I love the restless surg- 
ing of the delegates, part actors and part spectators. I thrill to the 

274 J 1 Farley's story 

marches and songs. I am fascinated by the activity in the press sec- 
tions. I delight in the oratorical cadences. I love the bustle of the plat- 
form, heavy with political notables. I am enthralled by the drama of 
a roll call. I am carried away by the color and frenzy of a demon- 
stration. To me the waving state standards are more beautiful than a 
field of tossing grain. I love the popping of flashbulbs, the endless 
surge of noises, and the thick and often simmering atmosphere. To 
me it's the great American show. There's not a dull moment in it. 

So it was with mingled joy and pride that I raised my gavel, almost 
at the stroke of noon, and looked out upon the restless scene in the 
convention hall. In a moment I brought the gavel down, and the 1940 
convention was launched into history. The invocation was followed 
by an address of welcome by Mayor Kelly, who seized upon the posi- 
tion of first speaker, which was his only by courtesy to his role as 
convention host, to draft the President. 

Grinning broadly, Kelly thrust the name of the President before 
the convention almost at once. I have no doubt that the Mayor was 
confident that his mention of the magic name would precipitate a 
parade that would end in a spontaneous draft of Roosevelt. Puzzle- 
ment was stamped on his face when the expected demonstration failed 
to materialize and he hurried disappointedly through the remainder 
of his speech. His words were resented by the delegates as being in 
bad taste. Whatever faults the speech had, Kelly paid for them in 
disappointment. I was told later he hgd fully expected to stampede 
the convention and was nonplused by the lack of delegate enthu- 
siasm. Being a man of action, he moved to correct the situation and 
prepared to ensure enthusiasm for the Roosevelt nomination, even if 
it had to be manufactured. 

Following the official photograph taking, I made an opening address, 
which was well received. At this point the stadium organ was to have 
played When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by way of a musical tribute. 
Suddenly the power mysteriously failed. Well-wishers of mine later 
taxed Kelly with deliberately arranging the power failure, a charge 
which he denied. It did not happen again. The brief morning session 
ended with a bit of general routine business and a few announcements. 

At nine o'clock that night the gavel was raised in my hand again. 

i94 Convention 275 

A bit of pounding brought the meeting to order and the nation was 
listening in by radio on our deliberations. The night meeting had 
been set to gather in the radio audience. 

"And now, men and women of the Democratic national conven- 
tion, it becomes my duty to relinquish the gavel and present to you 
the temporary officers who will guide your proceedings until you 
have expressed your views as to the permanent organization." I closed 
my salute to the accomplishments of the Democratic party. "Mine has 
been a happy service. I have had the hearty support and cooperation 
of the national committee which now goes out of existence, and I 
want to thank the members from the bottom of my heart, on my own 
behalf and on behalf of the Democratic party whose interests they 
have so sincerely guarded. 

"Let me thank also the delegates to the convention who have done 
everything possible to expedite and make easier the business of this 
meeting. I know that your new organization will not let the Demo- 
cratic party down, and I firmly believe that every member of this 
great gathering will give our successors and the new national party 
organization the same support that was accorded to the national com- 
mittees in 1932 and 1936, and, if that is so, let me promise you now 
another triumph next November." 

Again there was generous applause. "So far," I remember saying to 
myself, "you have behaved in a manner no one can criticize." True, I 
had not mentioned the President's name, as some remarked later, but 
it was not my role to do so at that time and in that place. 

Speaker Bankhead was then escorted to the platform in accordance 
with the free and easy convention protocol, and I surrendered the 
gavel. The Speaker unrolled a half hour of rounded sentences to 
strike a wartime party keynote. He said: 

"The minds of the American people are now so deeply engrossed 
in ... the preservation of our established order of life and institu- 
tions, that they will have no tolerance for the superficial banalities of 
politics. An election must be held, but . . . the major objective of 
both parties must be unity and solidarity of purpose." 

Bankhead warmly praised Hull and Roosevelt for the formulation 
and execution of the nation's foreign policy. I am sure these words fell 

276 Jim Farley's story 

pleasantly on Hull's ears in his Carlton Hotel apartment in Washing- 
ton, because I knew that the Tennessean was hurt over the Presi- 
dent's failure to acknowledge his services to the state just as Roosevelt 
had been loathe to acknowledge my political services to himself and 
to the party. 

The Speaker drew his heaviest round of applause when he quoted 
the President's statement, "We will not send our men to take part 
in European wars." A few minutes later he mopped his perspiring 
face as the convention marked the conclusion of the keynote with 
rounds of applause. He adjourned the gathering until noon of the 
next day. 

Bankhead, I am sure, injured himself, as far as his ambitions were 
concerned, by his appearance before the convention. It was obvious 
to all that he was tired and worn. His speech lacked the fire that might 
have been fanned into flames of enthusiasm during consideration of 
the Vice Presidency. But he made his speech aware of the stakes, and 
my hat was off to him as a grand soldier and loyal party man. 

Back in rny office I put in calls to Garner and Hull. I chose to talk 
to the Vice President first because I knew he was in the habit >of 
retiring early. Although it was past his usual bed time when I called, 
I knew that he and Mrs. Garner had their ears turned to the radio 
for the convention and that I would not be awakening him. 

"Well," I began, "are you all set to be steam-rollered with me?" 

"Looks that way," he laughed. 

"For my part, I'm ready for the steam roller," I said. "I am satisfied 
in my heart that I'm doing the right thing and I'm glad I have played 
it through." 

"God bless you, boy," he said in a sudden sincerity that surprised 
me in view of the bantering approach to our situation. "Jim, you've 
definitely proved to me what I always thought about you: that you 
are a man of character, principle, and courage. I want to wish you 
every success and happiness in the future and you deserve it because 
you're doing a brave and noble thing, Jim." 

I was touched deeply. I thanked him as best I could and told him I 
reciprocated his feelings. 

Then I put in a call to Hull. I used much the same opening with him 


(Acme Photo,} 

October 28, 1940 After I had resigned from the Cabinet, President Roosevelt, 
Mrs. Roosevelt, and I met again in Madison Square Garden. He had requested me 
to sit next to him in his car and on the platform during his speech (see page 336). ; 



Aboard Presidential Special 
December 3, 1940* 

Dear Jian:- 

Tharik you for yours of the twenty- third* You 
know I am a funny fellow in that unlike many, many 
people I do not get excited by what you call an 
"unprecedented honor". The reason is that I am perhaps 
a little "queer" in never having sought public office 
for "honor". 

To put it another way, I would have been just 
as content in my own heart and conscience to give 
service to the country as a private citizen as I would 
to give service to the country as a first term or a 
third term President. 

I am off for an attempt to get two weeks of 
sunshine and I do hope you will run in and see me 
when I get back* I would really love to talk with you 
quietly about a lot of things that intimately relate 
today to the future generations of Ajnerica. 

Is it true you are going to South America? 
Let me know if I dan help. 

&y best to you all, 

As ever, 

F. D. R. 

Honorable James A. Farley,. 
1040 Fifth Avenue, 
New York, ff. Y. 

December 3, 1940 The President's unsigned reply to my letter of congratulation 

(see page 338). 

194 Convention 277 

and to my amazement he replied in almost the same words Garner had 
used. I told him so. He said they were deserved. I went to bed con- 
tented that night, secure in the thought that if two such men thought 
well of me and my course, I would come through a trying time with 
credit and dignity, as I hoped. 

Tuesday afternoon's session of the convention was routine, serv- 
ing to accentuate the fireworks that were to come. That night's 
schedule called for the address of the permanent chairman, Senator 
Barkley. There was no indication that the address would offer any- 
thing unusual until the President told his press conference, in response 
to a probing question on politics, that the Senator would read to the 
convention a message from the White House that night. 

While the first real news of the convention came out of Wash- 
ington, it did not remain a secret until Barkley addressed the con- 
vention. Within two hours, word of the statement was echoing up 
and down hotel corridors and long before the night session convened, 
only the radio audience and the galleries were in doubt as to what 
the President was going to say. 

Jimmy Byrnes was the first to call me with the news. His voice was 
charged with suppressed excitement. 

"The President has released his delegates,'* he said. 

"Finally?" I asked. 

"He has authorized Barkley to tell the convention so, and to tell 
the convention he has no desire to run again and never had." 

"Oh," I said as noncommittally as I could. "That's a brick of an- 
other color, as my father used to say." 

Byrnes hung up somewhat annoyed by my unenthusiastic reaction, 
I think. Soon after Herbert Bayard Swope was on the phone with 
an entirely different version of the coming statement. His story was 
that the delegates had not been released. He told me he had read 
the statement most carefully. For the first time I learned that the words 
were to be the words of Barkley although the hand that wrote them 
was the hand of Roosevelt with an assist credited to Rosenman. 

A little later Frances Perkins marched in to see me under one of 
her tricorne hats, which were her trademark. She came in to discuss 
the vice-presidential nomination, saying it was necessary to have a 

278 Jim Farley *s story 

strong man. I told her I was for Jesse Jones, if he would take it, and 
I was sure he would if he got the Roosevelt nod, because I thought he 
would fit into the third term picture as much as I disliked it better 
than anyone I knew. She told me she thought I could name the man, 
if I determined to do so. Then she asked my opinion of the Presi- 
dent's statement. 

"Frances, to tell you the truth, I'm not familiar with it," I replied. 
"All I know about it is what I have been told by Jimmy Byrnes and 
Herb Swope and a few newspapermen. And I have to admit the re- 
ports are somewhat contradictory. I'd be glad to get a little informa- 

She studied me earnestly. 

"Jim," she said at length, "has the President talked to you about it?" 

"No," was my emphatic reply. 

"It sounds incredible," she said half to herself. A moment later she 
went purposefully through the door with tears in her eyes. 

About twenty minutes after eight, as I was preparing to head for 
the Stadium for what I recognized would be an historic session, Mrs. 
Duffy came in with the news the White House was on the line. 

"Jim, I've been trying to get you all afternoon," the President be- 
gan heartily. "And I haven't been able to catch up to you. What are 
you up to out there?" 

As he laughed, I smiled. I had been in the office all afternoon. As 
a matter of fact if I had been out and word had come through that 
the President wanted me, everyone around me would have kept after 
me until I was located. Just for the record, I made a check later and 
found that there had been no White House call during the afternoon. 

"Oh, I'm a pretty busy fellow out here," I responded somewhat 

"Jim, I wanted to tell you that Alben has that statement we talked 
about," he said. "I decided that it would be best to release it after 
the permanent organization was set up. I would rather do it that way 
than the ways we talked about up at Hyde Park. I think you'll agree 
when you think it over. It's short and to the point." 

He did not read the statement. I did not know what was in it until 

194 Convention 279 

I got to the convention hall and Barkley read it. I have in my pos- 
session the original copy Barkley read. 

At the hall I ran into Miss Perkins, making her way through the 
police lines to the platform. As we were being swept along the aisle 
below the platform, she smiled at me. 

"Did you get a call from the White House?" she asked archly. 

"Yes," I acknowledged. "And I could make a good guess as to 
who was responsible for it." 

"You'd be right/' she said as we separated at the head of the stairs. 

I am satisfied the President would not have called me if she had not 
prodded him into it. I told the story to Frank Walker the next day, 
and he said he had discussed the matter with the President on Monday, 
suggesting Roosevelt should talk to me the moment the statement was 
drafted. Walker said he was assured the President would do so. 

I confidently expected that the statement would be the signal for a 
demonstration; such tactics appeared to be elemental. I was surprised, 
therefore, when Barkley mentioned the President's name after the 
first fourteen minutes of his address. Barkley is a born orator of the 
southern tradition and scarcely begins to get under way in the first 
fourteen minutes. He is one of the best orators of our time, not only 
in my opinion but also in that of others competent to judge. 

A demonstration started spontaneously in several delegations. In no 
time banners were dancing down the aisles. Cheers echoed. The organ 
whooped it up with the tuneful Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones. Here 
and there could be noted a tussle over a state banner, I saw Senator 
Tydings, standing with out-thrust chin, grimly hanging on to Mary- 
land's standard and stoutly resisting every attempt to wrest it from 
him. The Garner delegation hung on to one Texas banner. In the 
Massachusetts delegation, one was held by my crowd. 

As the delegates filed past the platform in a joyous snake dance, 
my eyes popped in surprise to see the austere, impeccable Under Secre- 
tary of State, Sumner Welles, jogging along. I could have been no 
more surprised if General MacArthur had trotted by in full dress 
uniform. Welles's creased trousers were getting a collection of wrinkles 
and his collar was wilting. He was going through the motions, but his 

280 Jim Farley's story 

wan smile was ample evidence that he wasn't really enjoying himself. 

Barkley began pounding for order early in the demonstration, so I 
realized this outburst was entirely genuine. He was able to restore 
order only by shouting for a doctor, stating that a lady had been 
injured. Throughout this demonstration the galleries were strangely 
silent. Once order was restored, Barkley droned on with his speech. 

Now preparations went on in earnest for a demonstration. Gradu- 
ally the aisles of the convention were filled up by strangers with con- 
cealed cardboard banners. They united in the jammed aisles, shifting 
from foot to foot as the Barkley cadences rolled on. 

At length he produced what I was waiting for the statement: 

"I and other close friends of the President have long known that 
he has no wish to be a candidate again. We know, too, that in no 
way whatsoever has he exerted any influence in the selection of dele- 
gates, or upon the opinions of delegates to this convention. 

"Tonight, at the specific request and authorization of the Presi- 
dent, I am making this simple fact clear to this convention. 

"The President has never had, and has not today, any desire or 
purpose to continue in the office of President, to be a candidate for 
that office, or to be nominated by the convention for that office. 

"He wishes in all earnestness and sincerity to make it clear that all 
of the delegates in this convention are free to vote for any candidate. 

"This is the message I bear to you from the President of the United 

Barkley gave the statement to the full of his resonant lungs. Then 
he turned away to await the roar of applause. There was no applause! 
The delegates stood pat. The strangers flashed their banners, which 
read "Roosevelt and Humanity" and began shuffling through the 
aisles. The organ pealed. But the delegates stood silent in their places, 
eying the marchers with distrust. 

Suddenly, from over the loud-speakers throughout the hall came 
a bellow: 

"We want Roosevelt." 

Surprise was registered on all faces. Mayor Kelly beamed. The 
thundering voice went on at intervals for forty-five minutes chanting: 

194 Convention 281 

"Chicago wants Roosevelt! " 

"The party wants Roosevelt!" 

"New York wants Roosevelt!" 

"The world needs Roosevelt! " 

"Illinois wants Roosevelt! " 

"America needs Roosevelt!" 

"Everybody wants Roosevelt!" 

Every now and then Barkley would give the voice added steam 
by yelling into his microphone, "We want Roosevelt!" He kissed the 
Kentucky banner in the parade. Few delegates, except for the most 
earnest New Dealers, like Senator Pepper of Florida, were in the 
parade. Once when the demonstration was fading, Barkley gave it new 
life by roaring, "Will the galleries remember they are our guests 
here and conduct themselves accordingly?" The laughter came from 
the marchers. Those in the gallery were quiet, strangely enough. Many 
left and there were huge gaps of empty red chairs. On the floor the 
Kellyites worked on and on, encouraged by smiling approval from 
their boss as they passed his box. One of the marchers yelled, "Hey, 
Ed, we planned it that way! " as he filed past the box, a witticism widely 
quoted throughout the evening. 

Those on the platform were as bewildered over the identity of the 
loud-speaker voice as the delegates. Reporters finally tracked it to a 
small basement room where the amplifier circuits were centered. 
There enjoying himself immensely was leather-lunged Thomas D. Mc- 
Garry, Chicago's superintendent of sewers. He had been selected for 
the job by Kelly himself. A half dozen times he darted out of his base- 
ment cell to bask in Kelly's approval and to see the scene; then he 
would go back to his chant. 

During the machine-made tumult, I studied the President's state- 
ment. Now and then I looked out on the scene myself and pondered 
my words, that we Democrats would make the convention as dig- 
nified as possible. The statement itself was inconclusive and certainly 
did not approach what the President promised at Hyde Park. It 
was apparent he did not want me to know what was in it, because I 
would have been frank in my opinion of it. But like everything else 

282 Jim Farley's story 

at the convention, it was not brought to my attention. Apparently 
no one except the President was satisfied with the statement. Every- 
where it was regarded as misleading and evasive. 

Back in my office, I called Hull. He told me about his luncheon 
conversation with the President, saying he had assured the President 
solemnly and finally that under no circumstances would he permit 
any consideration to be given to his name before the convention. He 
begged me to head off any effort in that direction, if such effort ap- 

I made what had by this time become a nightly report to former 
Governor James M. Cox at Dayton, Ohio. The head of the 1920 Cox- 
Roosevelt ticket understood my position and sympathized with my 



JULY 17, 1940, in one respect the political pinnacle of my life, 
dawned brightly enough. Before leaving for the convention, I 
called Bess, who was in our suite across the street, to assure 
her "everything would be all right." She went out to the convention 
hall with a party of friends. I went to the Stadium with my daughters. 
Quite honestly I wanted them to hear their father nominated for the 
Presidency. Bill Bray, my executive assistant, and Tom Davis, of the 
Democratic National Committee, went along. When I reached the 
hall, I was told that Mrs. Roosevelt wanted me on the phone. I put 
through a call to her at Hyde Park, New York, from the stadium 
press office. 

"Frances Perkins has called me and insists that it's absolutely neces- 
sary I come to Chicago," she explained her call. "Frances doesn't like 
the looks of things out there and feels that my appearance would do 
a lot to straighten things out. Now, I don't want to appear before 
the convention unless you think it is all right." 

"Why, it's perfectly all right with me," I said. 

"Please, don't say so unless you really mean it." 

"I do mean it and I am not trying to be polite," I declared. "I feel 
and mean what I am saying. Frankly, the situation is not good. Equally 
frankly, your coming will not affect my situation one way or the 
other. From the President's point of view I think it desirable, if not 
essential, that you come." 

"Thanks, Jim," she said. "I appreciate this. I'll come." 

Back on the platform I went over to shake hands with Carter Glass 
and his wife. He had come to nominate me. I told him how deeply 
I appreciated what he was about to do and what a great honor I con- 
sidered it to have so great an American present my name to the con- 
vention. He waved my emotional gratitude aside kindly. 

"Senator," I shifted to a lighter vein, "I think it is rather bad 


284 Jim Farley's story 

taste for a man whose name is going to be placed in nomination for 
the Presidency to stay on the platform during the proceeding." 

He looked at me sharply and smiled his crooked but illuminating 

"Jim, if I were you, I wouldn't be too modest about anything I did 
in this convention." 

As I left him I'm sure my affection stood out in my eyes. It was a 
moment of great happiness and elation. I looked out over the scene 
satisfied in my soul that I was doing the right thing. Before I left I 
nodded to friends in the press box, glad to be able to meet their eyes 
and smile the smile of the quiet in heart. 

Under the platform, I made my way to a stadium office and seated 
myself with Bill Bray and Tom Davis beside a radio. Senate Secretary 
Edward Halsey was in and out, Alabama was called in the roll of states 
and Senator Lister Hill nominated Roosevelt in a speech that was later 
appraised as more noisy than distinguished. 

Then came my greatest thrill in politics. I have known many mo- 
ments of exultation in politics. The thrill I received when Roosevelt 
was first nominated in 1932 was tremendous. I was thrilled by his elec- 
tion. I was thrilled at his inauguration. I enjoyed a great personal thrill 
that afternoon when I took the oath of office as Postmaster General. I 
was thrilled by the second nomination in 1936. And on election night 
that year when my prophecy of 46 states to 2 came true, I thought I 
had experienced more thrills than any man has a right to expect in 
politics. But that night in the dingy old stadium office, all previous 
thrills paled into insignificance. 

Arkansas yielded to Virginia and Barkley introduced Glass. In my 
mind's eye I could see the frail but vital figure advancing to the 
rostrum. I would have given anything to see the Senator, one of the 
nation's truly great statesmen, stand before the crowd. I would have 
loved to watch the unfolding of the greatest scene of my life, but I felt 
it proper to remain out of sight. I was brought sharply out of my reverie 
by a rather faint, rasping voice. 

"Mr. Chairman," it began, "and members of the National Demo- 
cratic convention: There is no material consideration and few spiritual 
reasons that can draw me from a sickroom halfway across the con- 

Nomination for President 285 

tinent to speak a brief word to this national convention of the great 
Democratic party." 

I thought Glass's gravelly voice had failed and I was nervous for 
him. I got up from my chair and began pacing. Then came a few 
boos, which swelled into- a chorus. For the first time in that conven- 
tion, I became fighting mad clear through. Bray and Davis later told 
me I stopped my pacing, clenched my fists, and set my jaw as though 
I were going to stride out and take on the hoodlums. I felt that way. 
Here was one of the greatest Democrats in the country, a man who 
had made a reputation in a long and successful public career, being 
booed by Democrats because he had the courage to stand before a 
Democratic gathering to present my name and because he felt I was 
representing the best in the Democratic tradition. We both knew the 
presentation was merely a gesture; that the votes would not be forth- 
coming. We knew also, and everyone in the hall knew, that the con- 
vention was not a free and open convention, or his speech might have 
had added significance. 

The boos churned anger and indignation and injury within me, not 
only because of Glass's position in the party, but because here was a 
venerable old man, who had left a sickbed to do what he believed to 
be right. He was entitled to respectful attention because of his years, 
position, and services, and he was being booed by a lot of political 
riff-raff who had no right to the convention floor, and perhaps a few 
misguided zealots. I am not a man who hates; I have no capacity in 
my soul for hate; but I can never feel kindly toward those who 
prompted and permitted the booing of that gallant gentleman. I was 
fearful that something might happen to Glass. I knew he was not feel- 
ing well, and with his advanced years and with the excitement, I was 
worried that he might be stricken in his tracks. This fear erased my 
anger and I prayed, as hard as I knew how, that he might carry on and 
finish what he had to say. I did not know a word of his speech before 
delivery; I did not think it proper that I should. 

Quite abruptly the faint voice surged into a fighting roar. I did 
not know until afterwards that they had failed to lower the micro- 
phone for the Virginia gamecock. I hung on his every word. When 
the, disgraceful booing ended, Virginia's senior Senator continued: 

286 Jim Farley's story 

"But among these spiritual considerations, first of all, is a desire 
to present to this convention the name of an incomparable Democrat, 
who has conducted the affairs of the Democratic party for seven 
years in a way that no other man within my recollection of forty years 
of public service has ever done. 

"Always eager to be an intense partisan, always eager to have his 
party win, nevertheless he was a man of such a type of patriotism as 
always to put his country above party considerations, a genius in mat- 
ters of a political nature, so thoroughly well versed in the sentiment 
and observance of the action of the people of the United States as to 
have twice predicted the success in this party so accurately as that he 
claimed but two states in the Union would go against his party. 

"He is not only a man of loyal attachment to the Democratic party, 
but there is no manner of personal or political reward that would 
sufficiently secure him for the sacrifices he has made to his party. A 
man of character and intelligence, a man on whose word every human 
being can always rely, a man who never in all his lifetime ever vio- 
lated a pledge once given, a man who believes in the unwritten law and 
traditions of the Democratic party as advocated ever since before the 
days of Thomas Jefferson, who less than three years before his death 
appealed to the party which he established never to nominate a man 
for the third term for the Presidency; and Virginia, always mindful 
of the principles enunciated by Thomas Jefferson as immortal, stands 
today unmoved, from any source, from the principles advocated by 
the founder of the Democratic party; and through consideration for 
the party itself, for its success and perpetuity, I have come from a 
sickbed to present to this convention the name of a great Democrat, 
James A. Farley of New York. If nominated by the convention, 
there will not be a shadow of a doubt as to his election next November. 

"Let me say this word in conclusion: since I have been sitting on 
this platform I have had two anonymous communications objecting 
to Jim Farley because he is a Catholic. When I reflect that one of the 
three achievements of Thomas Jefferson which he most valued was 
the Virginia statute in favor of religious freedom, it made me more 
determined to present his name than I otherwise would be." 

During this speech I thought of my dead mother and how proud 

Nomination for President 287 

she would have been had she been able to be present. I thought of the 
father I hardly knew. In my mind's eye I could see Bess in her box 
and Betty and Ann on the platform. I was happy to have them hear 
my name presented and I hoped Jimmy was listening to the radio, 
as I was. I welled with sentiment. Never in my wildest dreams had I 
thought I would live to see the day when my name would be seri- 
ously presented to a Democratic convention for the office of the 
President of the United States. And to be presented by such a mag- 
nificent American character and in so critical an hour in the nation's 
history filled my cup of happiness. Tears came to my eyes and spilled 
over. And I am not ashamed of a single one of them; I would have been 
less a man, had I not been moved at that hour. 

A short ovation followed. I remember it was short, but at least 
it was genuine. Everyone in that vast hall who cheered for Farley 
meant it. Not a single one was paid and not a single one did it to keep 
a job. There were some boos and I took them all on my shoulders, 
dividing the cheers with Glass, because I felt that the demonstration 
was for him, too. Mayor Kelly's organist was silent; the band forgot 
to play, and in a few moments my "parade" was over. Bess's box, which 
she occupied with several New York friends, was near that occu- 
pied by Mayor Kelly, his wife, and others. She said Kelly and those 
with him were glued to their chairs during the Farley flurry. As 
Mayor of Chicago, he was host to the convention and, despite the 
fact he was going down the line for the third term, which was his 
privilege, common courtesy demanded that he rise for other demon- 
strations. I rose when I was on the platform during the Roosevelt dem- 
onstrations, both genuine and staged. 

Glass's voice was not the only one raised for me that evening. Pat 
Doyle of Massachusetts strode purposefully to the rostrum to deliver a 
seconding speech, and, in his winning Irish way, drew no little ap- 

Doyle was followed by Pat Fisher, my dear old friend. Pat was hold- 
ing my old job of Rocldand County chairman. I knew I could count 
on him, if everyone else deserted me. I could understand how Pat felt 
as he stood in front of that great body. I was proud with him. I knew 
the folks back in Rockland were listening in for Pat and myself. They 

288 Jim Farley's story 

were hearing the seconding nomination of one they had known through 
his entire lifetime by another they had known equally well. I thought 
of various friends, especially those who had known my father and 
mother, who would be listening in to hear how Jim and Pat were 
doing. Again my heart swelled and my throat choked and my eyes 

Pat's speech was a nice little speech, and nicely delivered, if I, who 
perhaps shouldn't, do say so myself. The final seconding speech 
and I permitted only three instead of the allowed four was that of 
Mrs. L. O. Keen, national committeewoman from the Canal Zone. 

At the conclusion of the nominating speeches, I started for the 
platform. On my way I saw handfuls of puzzled men, clutching 
Wheeler banners, around the entrance aisles. Edward J. Colgan, Jr., 
of Baltimore was nominating Tydings. Booing had by this time be- 
come a habit. There was a cheer, not a loud one, but Tydings had had 
the courage to voice his opposition. Then silver-haired Wright Mor- 
row was at the rostrum nominating Garner. It was hot in the hall. 
Delegates became drowsy. But the booers lost none of their bad 
manners. The Texas delegation bravely trooped around the hall to 
the tune of The Eyes of Texas Are upon You and Cactus Jack had 
demonstrated his courage to stand for conviction. 

"The roll call is concluded," Barkley announced in stentorian ac- 
cents. "The clerk will now call the roll." 

One hour and ten minutes later at 10:38 P.M. COST the third term 
tradition was broken. The vote was: Roosevelt 946 and one-half, 
Farley 72 and one-half, Garner 61, Tydings 9 and one-half. 



DURING THE nominations and roll call, I remained out of sight at 
the rear of the platform. Before my nomination I went to 
Barkley and Byrnes and told them I wished to move that the 
nomination be made unanimous after the roll call. I wanted every- 
one to know that my course was one of principle, that I was not trying 
to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, and that I was not a 
sorehead. They told me I would be recognized but that Sam Rayburn 
had already asked permission to move that the votes of Texas, re- 
corded for Garner, be shifted to Roosevelt, which, in effect, would be 
to move unanimous nomination. I told Barkley it was perfectly satis- 
factory with me that Rayburn be recognized first, but that I would be 
appreciative if I could be recognized after Rayburn. That he promised 

to do. 

When I was introduced by Barkley I moved down the aisle with 
Eddie Roddan and Bill Bray. Eddie had been my close friend during 
the time he had been associated with the committee. While he was 
not in sympathy with what I was doing, he had asked particularly 
to walk down the aisle with me, because he wanted everyone in the 
convention to know that he was my friend. It was a splendid evidence 
of friendship, and I shall always cherish it. I am afraid Eddie paid 
dearly for it, because I am sure it cost him a place on the Federal Com- 
munications Commission, which he had been promised. Mrs. Roose- 
velt, Steve Early, John and Anna Boettiger, and Ed Flynn were all 
for him, but the President put them off with one excuse after another 
and Eddie never got the post. The irony of it was that Eddie was a 
staunch believer in the third term, and the party had no more faithful 
or valuable worker in the third term campaign. I also deeply appre- 
ciated Bray's presence at my left hand. While Bray was my secretary 
at the Post Office Department and could have been expected to ap- 
pear with me without arousing wrath, others with less to lose had 


290 Jim Farley's story 

shunned me and dodged me on the platform, in the streets, and at 
the hotel. Among these were many for whom I had done much. 

At the rostrum I was greeted by a standing ovation from the dele- 
gates. The little army of well-disciplined booers remained silent. The 
galleries displayed enthusiasm for almost the only time during the 
convention. I was touched by the reception. As I responded by wav- 
ing my right arm, contentment grew within me. I knew my course 
had been right. I could see the ovation was genuine and I accepted 
it as vindication of my stand. I realized that I was in a delicate position. 
Everyone in the hall was undoubtedly wondering what I was going 
to say and how I was going to say it. Millions were listening in. Those 
who knew me, of course, and those who knew anything about my 
record, were confident I was about to make the nomination unanimous. 
Nonetheless, I believe there was doubt in the minds of many people 
as to just how far I would go, doubt raised, perhaps, by the recollec- 
tion of what Al Smith had done eight years before. 

There was never any doubt in my mind for months before as to 
what I was going to do at that particular moment. More than once 
since, I have had occasion to recall Mark Twain's famous line, "When 
in doubt, do the right thing." I was full of doubt, but I knew what I 
was doing was the right thing. I knew I had to let the convention 
know my convictions or I would not be true to myself, my party, or 
my country. I did this in allowing my name to be presented. Now it 
was up to me to accept the will of the convention and move the nom- 
ination be unanimous. 

I had prepared the speech I was about to deliver before I left the 
hotel. Roddan worked it over with me, but most of it was mine 
and the sentiments were all mine. During my long years in public 
life I have received help from many persons with my speeches. I have 
never been ashamed to own this. Charlie Hand, Vincent Dailey, Ray- 
mond Moley, Adolph Berle, Ambrose O'Connell, Claude Bowers, 
Charley Michelson, Eddie Roddan, and others have dressed my ideas, 
and I have been and still am grateful to them. While I am no great 
author, and no orator, I have come a long way from the tongue-tied 
town clerk elect, who practiced unappreciated in the back yard of 
his Grassy Point home. I can get to my feet and unburden myself 

Third termers triumph 291 

extemporaneously. There are those kind enough to say that some of 
my best thoughts have been expressed without preparation and with- 
out aid. Be that as it may, I never took more care with an address in 
my life, so that there would be no question about the delivery itself 
or the sincerity back of it. I said: 

"Senator Barkley and fellow Democrats, you have given me on 
two occasions the highest honor in your gift, chairmanship of the 
Democratic national committee. I ask you now for a further courtesy. 
I ask your indulgence so that I may deliver without interruption a 
brief message to this great convention." 

I paused for effect. I could see I had the attention of the dele- 
gates. The hall hushed. 

"I have pursued a course here that has been dictated by the deepest 
convictions, and when a man fails to follow his sincere convictions, 
no matter how unpleasant the consequences, he is false to himself, 
false to his party, and false to his country. 

"I wanted this convention to proceed as Democrats should pro- 
ceed, to nominate its standard-bearers in keeping with the high tradi- 
tions of our party. That is the only democratic method and that has 
been observed. 

"My name was placed in nomination for the Presidency of the 
United States by a great and noble American. As long as I live I 
shall be grateful to Senator Carter Glass, of Virginia. I am grateful 
to those delegates to this great convention who voted for me and 
to those delegates who would have voted for me had they not been 
otherwise pledged. 

"Down through the years I have always given my best efforts to 
advance the cause of democracy, and I want this great convention 
to know that I will give that same support to the nominees of this 

"It is, therefore, a great pleasure for me, Senator Barkley, to move 
to suspend the rules and declare President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
nominated for President of the United States by acclamation." 

There was a tremendous roar from the convention. The organ, 
Mayor Kelly's organ, had no trouble with When Irish Eyes Are Smil- 
ing. I acknowledged the salute and turned away from the rostrum. 

292 Jim Farley's story 

That session of the convention ended with acceptance of my motion 
by a roaring of "ayes." I choked up when I heard Betty say to Ann, 
"We certainly can be proud of Dad tonight." That was my highest 

Many crowded to the platform to shake my hand. As I went 
through the hall there were cheers on every hand. The crowd knew 
they were cheering a loser, but they approved my courage to stand 
up for what I believed in. 

I went back to the Hotel Stevens with Betty and Ann. I was re- 
lieved that it was all over and that I had come through as well as I 
had hoped. Actually, the strain was terrific. I felt that a great load 
was off my shoulders and that once more I was a free man free to 
do the things I wanted to do, free to make my own decisions with- 
out regard to the feelings and ambitions of others, free to do what I 
thought was best for myself, and free to do the things for my family 
that a man in my position should be doing. 

When I started for my rooms in the Blackstone Hotel, it took me a 
half hour to get through the lobby of the Stevens and another half 
hour to get to the elevator in the Blackstone. Hundreds struggled to 
grasp my hand and congratulate me on the attitude I had assumed 
and its successful outcome. 

In the privacy of our suite I learned that all in our box had tears 
in their eyes when my name was offered, and Betty and Ann had 
cried on the platform. I confessed to my own tears. It was a great 
thrill for them as it was for me and their tears were salted with joy. 
None of them wanted me to win. Neither Bess nor the children wanted 
to live in the White House or for me to be elected Vice President. 
They wanted me to take myself out of politics and get back into 
private life so I could enjoy the pleasures that come to a man with a 
devoted family. They rejoiced that I was leaving with my head and 
heart high, and with my eyes lowered to no man. They delighted in 
the reception accorded me and the honor which went with the pres- 
entation of my name, but their greatest pleasure came from the knowl- 
edge that I would soon leave political life and be with them. 

The family's attitude is best illustrated by a phone conversation I 

Third termers triumph 293 

had the next morning with Jimmy, whom I reached at his New Hamp- 
shire camp. 

"Hello, champ," I greeted. 

"How are you, Dad?" he piped. "How did you make out?" 

I told him. 

"Good, Dad," was his reaction, "Mother will be very happy." 

Thursday morning, July 18, 1940, the President called me early. 
He was as gay and bright as he had been after the 1932 and 1936 
nomination. His manner was as warm as it had ever been. 

"Now, Jim, we have to give some consideration to the selection of 
a Vice President, and I have thought it all over and have come to the 
conclusion that Henry Wallace is the best man to nominate in this 
emergency," he said breezily. 

"Mr, President," I replied, "I am going to be for Jesse Jones and I 
think the best thing that can happen to you is to have Jesse Jones 
on the ticket with you." 

"But Jesse's not in good health since that plane accident a couple 
of years ago. If anything should happen to me if I should be bumped 
off or if I should be hit with a bomb I would want to feel that 
there is someone in the White House to carry on. One who would 
be able to do it. Anything can happen to Jesse at any time." 

"I know nothing about Jesse being in poor health," I said. "He 
looks good to me. But be that as it may, I will be for him and will sec- 
ond his nomination. I sincerely believe he is the best man for you 
to nominate." 

"I think Henry is perfect," he said doggedly. "I like him. He's the 
kind of fellow I want around. He's honest. He thinks right. He's a 

"Mr. President, there is no use fooling yourself. The nomination 
of Wallace just won't help the ticket any way. While I have a per- 
sonal regard for Wallace as a man, for his integrity, for his courage, 
and for his energy and the rest you say, the people look on him as a 
mystic and I think you'll regret it. I think you are unfair to your 
country and your party in forcing Wallace's nomination, and youll 
live to regret it." 

294 J* m Farley's story 

"He's not a mystic," Roosevelt snapped. "He's a philosopher. He's 
got ideas. He thinks right. He'll help the people think." 

"I'm merely telling you what the feeling is, I'm not arguing." 

"Wallace will help in the farm belt." 

"Maybe so, but he'll hurt in other places. This is your ride, Mr. 
President, and it is up to you to select the man you want alongside 
you. Jones would offset the lack of business support, big and little, 
which will come if Wallace should be the nominee." 

He was silent. 

"Mr. President," I went on, "I think you should know that Jesse 
would offset the arguments which are coming from all over about the 
influence of the Hopkins-Corcoran-Kelly-Wallace-Hague-Byrnes 
group and the others responsible for the silly performance out here." 

The cordiality died out of his voice. 

"Jim, Cordell won't take it," he said in aggrieved accents. "I pleaded 
with him yesterday, but he wouldn't take it under any circumstances." 

"I thoroughly agree with Hull He would be getting kicked up- 
stairs. I talked with him and know how he feels." 

"I had a talk with Jimmy Byrnes. Of course, the Catholic issue 
would hurt there. You know, he had been a Catholic until he reached 
the age of twenty-one and had graduated from college and law 
school, and then when he started going around with the girl who 
became his wife, he began attending a Protestant church, finally be- 
coming a member of it. Jimmy realizes that this would affect his candi- 

I could not suppress a smile. Jimmy had seen no more of the in- 
side of a college than I had. Roosevelt found it hard to believe that 
those about him had risen without his educational advantages. Jimmy 
and I have done all right with colleges in another way. We each have 
about a dozen honorary degrees from a scattering of institutions who 
honor credits won in life. I told him what I had told Byrnes. 

I thought it was time that the conversation took a lighter tone, so 
I reported that Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson was around 
telling everyone, "The President has given me the green light." 

"Oh, my God," was his rejoinder. 

"Looks like Louis will run into a red light," I laughed. 

Third termers triumph 295 

"He'll run into a red light at the next block." 

"I want to talk to you about the situation that developed here 
and about my resignations," I said. 

"Hold them off as long as you can, Jim." 

"September i is the deadline and I can't wait beyond that under 
any circumstances. You know my financial situation. And I want to 
sit down with you and discuss the performance of some of the fellows 
you sent out here; their actions were incredible." 

"Eleanor is coming out there," he sidestepped. 

"I know it; we had a talk about it last night." 

"Well, Jim, be sure to make it certain the vice-presidential nomina- 
tion is unanimous. By the way, you were grand last night, Jim." 

I talked with Hull, who seemed delighted that he came out of it 
without being forced to accept the Vice Presidency. He applauded 
my performance of the night before and the position I took in the 
telephone conversation. I then called Garner. 

"They licked the daylights out of us last night, Jim," he chuckled. 

"Well, John, I wouldn't have changed my position for anything 
in the world." 

"I know." 

"Have you any idea who your successor is?" 

"I'll give you a guess as to who it is," 

"I know; you guess." 

"Well, who is it?" 

"Between you and me, it's Wallace." 


"Yes, and I told him if he was thinking about the November elec- 
tion not to take Wallace, because Wallace is regarded as a mystic. I 
said I am going to be for Jones." 

"More power to you." 

"Well, I am playing it out, John, and I'll go down with colors 

I called Jesse Jones on the phone and then walked over to his 
hotel. I found him dictating a statement he was going to release to 
the press, declining the vice-presidential nomination. Jones looked up 
at me and smiled, "My heart ain't in it, Jim." Colonel Joseph M. 

296 Jim Farley's story 

Hartfield, New York City attorney, was with him. I went over the 

"Jesse, I'm with you if you stay in the race," I said. "But I'm not 
here to advise you. That's something for you to decide. I'm going to 
make my decision, but I don't advise others unless they ask for it." 

"What would you do, Jim?" he asked. 

"Jesse, if the President did not want me, I wouldn't run." 

"He doesn't want me because he thinks I'm not well." 

"Jesse, that's not the real reason; he just doesn't want you, and you 
might as well face it. I'm telling you that because I would want a 
friend of mine to tell me the truth under like circumstances. Now, 
I'm for you. If you change your mind and stay in the race, you 
have my vote and support. I think you can be nominated with my 
support. I say that in all modesty. I told Roosevelt I'd be with you 
and I will." 

"No, Jim, I guess I'll let this statement go. I won't change my mind." 

On my way back to my office, I stopped by to pay my respects to 
Senator Glass. He was all smiles and reading over a handful of con- 
gratulatory telegrams he had received. 

"How did I do last night, Jim?" he asked. 

"You were great! " 

, "Well, it went all right except for the beginning. My voice gave 
out. But I was choked with emotion." 

"That was nothing to worry about; it came out all right. If you 
had only stood up there and said, 'I place the name of James A. Farley 
in nomination,' that would have been enough for me. The fact that 
you presented my name is the greatest tribute I could personally have 
and I will remember it to my dying day." 

"It was a real pleasure, Jim." 

"The younger you get, the better you get." 

Almost six years later I stood beside his grave with Senator Byrd. 
As the frail body of my friend, wasted by a long illness, was lowered, 
my mind flashed back to a visit Glass and I paid to the grave of 
Thomas Jefferson. As we looked through the iron fence at the rest- 
ing place of the founder of our party, Glass said: 

"Jim, I have always abhorred the thought of being buried in the 

Third termers triumph 297 

ground, and I have been trying to persuade my Presbyterian wife 
(the first Mrs. Glass) to permit me to build a mausoleum to house 
my remains when I pass on." 

I never mentioned the incident to any member of his family. While 
Glass spoke, Mrs. Roosevelt was laying a wreath on Jefferson's grave 
and President Roosevelt sat near by in his car. The President spoke 
that day at Monticello. 

During the afternoon I could not resist calling up Ickes and con- 
gratulating him on Wallace's coming nomination. A couple of weeks 
earlier I had written him a facetious letter saying I was managing 
Wallace's campaign for the Presidency and giving some thoughts to 
Works Progress Administrator John Carmody for Vice President. 
Ickes was feuding with the pair and had long been at odds with 

"Wallace's nomination is a damned outrage," Ickes sputtered. 

"Seriously," I said, "what do you think of things?" 

"What do I think of them?" he roared. "Who cares what I think? 
Here I led the whole third term movement while Hopkins was in 
the hospital and they thought he was going to die. Then he comes out 
to the convention and Fm not consulted at all. I know nothing about 
the program. I can keep a secret. I've been keeping secrets for years. 
Hopkins never even attended a county meeting and wouldn't know 
how to get into one. Now here he is taking over a national con- 
vention. It's disgraceful." 

Ickes indicated he didn't know whether or not he would make any 
speeches. He told me he appreciated my position and admired the 
way in which I handled myself. It was rather amusing to see the New 
Dealers fighting so bitterly among themselves. 

Senator Wheeler called me to say that he had decided to with- 
draw from the presidential race because he couldn't even hold his 
own delegation in line. I recalled the sad knots of men with his ban- 
ners. Also I remembered running into Senator Bennett Clark, who was 
to have nominated Wheeler. Bennett pulled the speech from his 
pocket laughingly and told me, "This is the best speech I never made 

at a convention." 

One of the most amusing incidents in the Chicago convention 

298 Jim Farley's story 

came when Delegate Andrew Durbin of Ohio, in a light interlude, 
made a speech nominating Bascom N. Timmons, one of the nation's 
ablest newspapermen, for Vice President. It was extremely hot and 
Andy peeled off his coat and handed it to Barkley. The Chairman 
obligingly held the coat while Durbin extolled the candidate of the 
press corps. 

Several days later the Texas newspaperman encountered Wallace 
on the train which was carrying both of them back to Washington. 
"Mr, Wallace, when we carne to Chicago, we each had one man 
behind our candidacy," Timmons drawled dryly. "I had Andy Dur- 
bin, but you had Franklin D. Roosevelt." 



ELLIOTT ROOSEVELT dropped by Thursday afternoon, July 18, 
1940, to say he thought "it would be a great mistake to nom- 
inate Wallace." I told him I was for Jones. He met this with 
"If you nominate Jesse, I'll second it." I told him that was all right 
with me and that we would talk it over when his mother arrived. It 
was arranged that Arizona would yield to New York so that I could 
deliver the nominating speech. 

I drove out to meet Mrs. Roosevelt at the airport. She had said I 
was the only person she wanted to meet. Her plane was on time. She 
was accompanied by Franklin, Jr. After she had given a brief press 
interview, we got into the car and headed for the Stevens Hotel, 
where she had rooms engaged. 

She asked about my position and I outlined it quite pointedly. She 
said she felt as though she had always known me, that she could 
always turn to me for advice and assistance, and that I could always 
be depended upon. She said she would miss me in the campaign and 
had hoped there was some way my financial situation could be 
worked out. She was kind enough to say the campaign would not 
be the same without me, when she became convinced I would not 
change my mind. We then switched to discussion of the Vice Presi- 
dency. I said it was a mistake to nominate Wallace. She agreed, as 
did Franklin, Jr. 

"Henry is a nice fellow," she said, "but people just don't be'come 
enthusiastic about him. His personality doesn't impress people." 

"Looking at it practically," I said, "this fellow Willkie will get lib- 
eral financial support. It should be important to attract contributions 
to the Democratic campaign. And I don't know where they are going 
to come from with Wallace on the ticket." 

"I agree with you, Jim," she said. 

"The trouble is," Franklin, Jr., said, "that Father is making these 


300 Jim Farley's story 

decisions while he is tired and there is no strong person around to 
argue with him/' 

Mrs. Roosevelt nodded. 

At the hotel, Mrs. Roosevelt put in a call to the White House. 

"Franklin," she plunged to the point, "I've been talking to Jim 
Farley and I agree with him Henry Wallace won't do. ... I know, 
Franklin, but Jesse Jones would bolster the ticket and win it business 
support and help in many directions." 

I also suggested Bankhead and Barkley and she relayed the sugges- 
tion. He did not take kindly to them. Finally, he asked that I be put 
on the phone. He appeared to be irritated. Regardless of that, I told 
him I had not changed my mind since morning and that I was still for 

"But I've given my word to Wallace, Jim." He was impatient. 
"What do you do when you give your word?" 

"I keep it," I answered quickly, perhaps too quickly and too sharply, 
so I softened it. "If you gave your word to Wallace you should keep 
it; but it was a mistake to give it. I want to be frank with you. I 
am going out and vote for Jones if he will run, and if he won't, I'll 
vote for Bankhead; but I feel the Democrats want a Democrat and 
I do not consider Wallace one." 

"I am committed," he said. 

"Why not Paul McNutt? " I suggested. 

He laughed. "Apparently, you still have your sense of humor." 

"If I ever lost that, there will be no point to my being around the 


Mrs. Roosevelt and I went out to the convention together. At the 
hall we met Elliott, who was determined to see Jones nominated. She 
urged him not to do anything for Jones, because if he did "Father 
would feel very, very badly." 

Time was growing short. Sam Morris of Arizona was already on 
the platform to waive to New York when Arizona was called. I 
signaled for him to pass and then sent for Jesse. I took him under 
the platform. I told him about my conversations with the President 
and with Mrs. Roosevelt. He had with him the statement he had pre- 
pared that morning. While we talked, Jesse's name was presented 

Wallace second choice 301 

by Howard Bruce of Maryland, at my suggestion. I had told Bruce that 
if anything happened, we could take it up with Jesse before the roll 
call and decide upon a final course of action. And here Jesse and I 
were deciding in the office below the platform. Jesse was much hurt 
by the President's attitude, but felt there was only one course he 
could take, and that was to withdraw his name. There was nothing 
I could do under the circumstances. 

One by one the field of some seventeen vice-presidential candi- 
dates was narrowed to three men. Those who were dropped or who 
withdrew included Hull, Garner, Jones, Byrnes, William CX Douglas, 
Robert H. Jackson, Louis Johnson, Culbert Olson, Lloyd C. Stark, 
Sam Rayburn, Charles Sawyer, and Scott Lucas. The latter at least 
told the truth in eight words; the Illinois Senator stepped down in a 
brief speech which began, "Had this been a free and open conven- 

Only Speaker Bankhead, Wallace, and McNutt were left in the 
race. Wallace had no more than a handful of personal votes when the 
convention opened. Bankhead's candidacy had not been launched 
too seriously. McNutt was strong only because opposition was fad- 
ing. To give him his due, McNutt had an opportunity to upset the 
presidential apple cart, if he remained in. He could have divided the 
New Deal vote and thrown the nomination to Bankhead, if he did 
not capture it himself. 

The delegates were ugly* They did not want Wallace. Not all their 
resentment was personal, however. They were showing their re- 
sentment against "bossism." Mrs. Wallace was on the platform through 
it all. I felt sorry for her, but she did not need my sympathy to take 
it, bravely. McNutt had some difficulty in getting the attention of 
the convention in order to withdraw, which he did most unwillingly, 
I'm sure. There was nothing else he could do under the circumstances. 
He was trapped by the President's adroit maneuvering like everyone 
else. No one who studies this convention can deny that the President 
showed himself to be a master of political rough-and-tumble with no 
holds barred. 

At length McNutt was allowed to withdraw, leaving the contest 
between Wallace and Bankhead, and the balloting began. The voting 

302 Jim Farley's story 

was made possible to a considerable extent by Jimmy Byrnes, who 
went weaving in and out the delegations on the floor pleading, "For 
God's sake, do you want a President or a Vice President?" It was third 
term strategy to claim FDR would not run if he could not have Wal- 
lace as his running mate. 

An amusing convention incident occurred when Governor Rivers 
of Georgia, who was seated in his state's delegation, turned to ask 
Governor Phillips in the Oklahoma delegation what the latter thought 
of Wallace. "Why, Henry's my second choice," said the Governor 
of Oklahoma to the Governor of Georgia. "That so?" said the Gov- 
ernor of Georgia to the Governor of Oklahoma. "Who's your first 
choice?" Phillips fixed a beady eye on his colleague and answered 
without the ghost of a smile, "Anyone red, white, black, or yellow 
that can get the nomination." 

The final vote brought Wallace only 627 votes out of 1,100. This 
was almost an even division. There is no doubt in my mind that Mrs. 
Roosevelt's appearance and her speech about the burdens of the Presi- 
dency in critical times saved the day for the President. 

I cast my vote for Bankhead. Incidentally, I did not vote for myself; 
I let my alternate vote on the presidential ballot. I suppose if I had ac- 
tively supported Bankhead, I might have swung the nomination to 
him in view of the closeness of the vote. I feel certain I could have 
nominated Jones. However, there was no reason why I should have 
fought Roosevelt on the Vice Presidency as I had on the Presidency, 
especially since Jones withdrew. I always like to place myself in the 
other fellow's position, whether I agree with him or not, and there are 
certain rules that must be followed. 

After the Wallace nomination, the President delivered the accept- 
ance speech he had postponed until the work of the convention was 
done, which (at the time he said so) meant until Wallace was nomi- 
nated. Henry, who was on the platform, had an acceptance speech, 
but was persuaded not to deliver it because of the temper of the dele- 
gates. Henry accepted this decision reluctantly because he is by no 
means lacking in courage. He wanted to brave the delegates' wrath. 

Angrily and sourly the confused delegates broke up. It had been a 
long, hot, and tiring session. Many felt that the party had been split 

Wallace second choice 303 

and the Democratic ship would founder in November. Bad as the con- 
fusion was, there were those who would have added to it by present- 
ing my name for the Vice Presidency, unaware that the Constitution 
provides that when electors cast their votes for President and Vice 
President "one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with 
themselves." It would have been a pretty pickle, indeed, if my name 
had been presented and approved by the disgruntled delegates, be- 
cause the New York vote could not have gone to Roosevelt and to me. 

Many of the party faithful left the convention bruised in mind and 
disgusted in heart. That was true on the part of Senators, Congress- 
men, Governors, and old line party men. This worried the New Deal- 
ers not a bit. As a matter of fact they wanted nothing but one hundred 
percenters. The New Deal ranks were by no means solid. Ickes and 
Jackson were not pleased. Hopkins was in the saddle. Corcoran ap- 
peared to be on the way out. 

The Democratic National Committee gathered the next morning at 
the Stevens Hotel. My statement of resignation was read shortly after 
the committeemen and committeewomen about no in all gathered 
in the hotel meeting room. 

"Eight years ago in this city I was, elected chairman of the Demo- 
cratic National Committee," it read. "In the intervening years I have 
had the happiest associations with Democrats all over the country, and 
my debt to the party can never be repaid. 

"I have remained in public life at great financial sacrifice, because 
I love politics. I have an opportunity now to accept an attractive offer 
' in business, and in justice to my family, because of my financial situa- 
tion, I am going to accept. 

"Before leaving, I shall cooperate to the fullest extent with my suc- 
cessor as national chairman in setting up the machinery for the coming 
campaign. I have said repeatedly that the American people want the 
Democratic party to remain in power. My opinion has not changed 
and again I pledge my full support to the Roosevelt-Wallace ticket." 

I was glad to get that pledge on the record and out of the way to 
head off an accusation of my being a sorehead. But I wa^ sad as mem- 
ber .after member of the committee, on the reading of my resignation, 
stood up to deliver impromptu expressions of appreciation for my serv- 

304 Jim Farley's story 

ices. Flynn submitted a resolution calling for the appointment of a 
committee to select a new chairman. It was one of the few times in 
my life I had difficulty in controlling my emotions. Those present ap- 
preciated this, I am sure. Tears glistened in the eyes of a number of 
men and streamed down the cheeks of several women. 

That afternoon the newspapermen and women gave me a reception 
in the ballroom of the Stevens. There was a large photograph of me in 
the center of the south wall. There was also a five-foot Statue of 
Liberty of cake icing. On a table in the center of the room my name 
was spelled in letters of ice two feet high. A trio went around strum- 
ming Irish tunes. There was what my Gaelic ancestors call "Biadh 
and Deoch" food and drink. No convention of any party has ever 
known such a gathering of newspaper people to pay tribute to a poli- 
tician. I was deeply touched as I shook hands with between two and 
three hundred members of the working press who came to wish me 

But there was more to come. To my surprise, I was hauled to a small 
platform. Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune was called on, rep- 
resenting the White House Correspondents' Association, who said, 
"It is only a heart as big as the heart of Jim Farley that can hold affec- 
tion for the entire newspaper corps," and he tossed me a dummy base- 
ball which contained a list of the names of those contributing to the 
affair. Esther Van Wagoner Tufty, of the Lansing, Michigan, State 
Journal, said, "Jim, we want you to know that the women of the press 
love you too," and she handed me a wooden plaque on which was 
mounted a first baseman's mitt. Turner Catledge, of the Neiv York 
Times, speaking for the Capitol press galleries, said, "Fellows, we have 
listened for years to people getting up ... to tell about how we never 
have broken a confidence with them . . . today we are here to pay 
a tribute to a man who has never broken a confidence with us," and 
he handed me a beautiful wrist watch, which I wear to this day. 

The reaction of newspapers as well as of newspapermen to my 
course at Chicago was almost unanimously favorable. The stories of 
the men covering the convention were favorable even in the Republi- 
can press and the editorials were of the head-turning variety. Natu- 
rally, I was very happy for this. The radio commentators were also 

Wallace second choice 305 

kind; I found myself looked upon as a statesman rather than as a poli- 

Many callers filed through my offices during the day. A surprise 
visitor was Henry Wallace. He came in with a shy, boyish grin. I 
greeted him warmly. I was genuinely pleased by his courtesy call 

"Henry, you might as well hear this from me/' I said. "You're not 
going to like it, but I want to assure you there is nothing personal in 
what I said or did. I sincerely hope that it will have no effect on our 
friendship. If our friendship can't survive an honest difference of 
opinion, well, it's just too bad. 

"I suppose you know I voted for Bankhead, Now, you must know 
I didn't do this out of any fit of pique against the President. I did it 
because I honestly thought he would be the better man. Before that I 
was for Jones. I told the President I was for Jones. I thought that the 
nominee should be a real Democrat and one who would add strength 
to the ticket." 

"Jim," he said simply, "I appreciate your frankness. I believe you 
when you say there was nothing personal in your objections. I think 
your frankness is one of the reasons why everybody likes you." 

I thanked him for the kind remarks in his undelivered speech. 

"I wanted to deliver it," he flashed. "They wouldn't let me." 

"I'm sure of that." 

"Jim, I hope we can bring unity within the party. I wish you were 
staying around because I know you could do it." 

"That's water over the dam; my decision was made long ago." 

"Well, I've got a press conference and have to run," he said as he 
rose. "But I didn't want to miss saying hello." 

"When I return to Washington, I'll talk to you further. I'll be glad 
at any time to give my advice for what it's worth." 

"Thanks." He bounded out the door, a happy man indeed. 

Politics can lift men higher and faster than a rocket flames its way 
into the sky. It can also plummet them down to earth, never to rise 
again. Each man must learn this for himself. 

It has been said that Roosevelt demonstrated himself to be a master 
politician at Chicago, outsmarting such opponents as Garner, Hull, 
Jones, Wheeler, Tydings, McNutt, Bankhead, and the rest. I must 

306 Jim Farley's story 

acknowledge that a good case can f be made on his behalf. But those in- 
terested in fairness should be aware that he told each one at one time 
or another that he was not going to run positively would not run 
and that he could make no announcement of this because of the war 
situation. All who believed him were not fools; some of us were putting 
the country above politics. History will deliver its judgment when all 
the testimony is in. 



AER THE convention, I did not see the President until July 26, 
1940, at the first Cabinet meeting held after his renomination. 
The President was wheeled to his place at the head of the table. 
Almost at once, he looked down at me and said, in the friendliest of 
tones, "Hello, Jim, how are you?" 

"As well as a fellow can be, in view of what's been going on for the 
last couple of weeks," I answered. 

That eased the tension. Everyone joined in the laugh. Later, when 
the President got down to me, he asked, "Jirn, have you got anything 
on your mind today?" I said lightly I had plenty but did not think 
this was the time or place to express it. 

Somehow or other a discussion arose as to how long Congress would 
remain in session. The President said probably until sometime after 
Labor Day or September 15, and then it would recess until after the 
election. He added that members wanted to stay on during the emer- 
gency period to make statements which would help them in their cam- 

"In other words, Mr. President," I quipped, "it is frequently easy 
to find those who serve their country before their party." 

I turned around and looked at Hopkins. The President's laugh rang 
out above the rest. Hopkins enjoyed the remark as much as anyone. 
It was really very amusing and all in clean fun. The Cabinet meeting 
proceeded along general lines. As we broke up, the President asked me 
to step in and see him for a few minutes. It was the first time he had 
made such a request in a long time. I waited in Miss Le Hand's office 
with Grace Tully. 

At his desk he handed me a letter that Mrs. Roosevelt had received 
from Queen Elizabeth. It was one of the nicest and saddest letters I 
have ever read. In simple language she expressed gratitude to the Amer- 


308 Jim Farley's story 

lean people for sympathy and kindness. She told how the British peo- 
ple were fighting for the things they held most dear and the things 
they believed in. I wondered whether the President wasn't trying to 
get me into a receptive mood. I remarked that the letter was one of 
the finest I had ever read and depicted the fine character of a truly 
gracious person. He brushed the letter from his mind with a toss of his 
cigarette holder. 

"Jim, everything came out all right in the convention," he said. "In 
the past there have been difficulties at conventions, which we have 
escaped. In 1896 the Palmer-Buckner ticket followed the Bryan nomi- 
nation. You will remember that many party conservatives objected to 
Bryan's first nomination and broke away to nominate Palmer and 
Buckner. My own father supported the latter ticket. I remember the 
campaign well, although I was only fourteen at the time." 

"The Palmer-Buckner ticket didn't get much support outside of 
your father," I threw in pleasantly. "Less than one per cent of the total 
vote, if I remember correctly." 

"That's right," he laughed. "Now, Jim, there is a general sentiment 
on all sides why, it's unanimous that you participate in the cam- 
paign. Everybody's for you. Me, most of all. 

"I'realize, of course, better than the others, that you have to go out 
in business to do something for your family. And you should do it. 
But you can still do it and help the party. You could let someone else 
be appointed campaign manager and still hold the chairmanship in 
name, while actually you would be working for your family. It's as 
simple as that, Jim. It would mean a great deal to the party. Otherwise, 
there might be serious repercussions within the party and I know you 
would be the last one to want that." 

He cocked his head and awaited my reply with his most engaging 

"Mr. President, that just can't be done," I answered. "You can't have 
divided authority around a campaign headquarters. There must be 
only one man in control and that one man must dominate the situa- 
tion. If I can help in other ways I shall be glad to do whatever I can, 
but I don't want to be publicly connected with the national com- 
mittee in ariy way." 

Roosevelt pleads 309 

"All you have to do, Jim, is have your name on the letterheads as 
chairman and that will be helpful/' he suggested. 

"It just can't be," I said. "There are times when all of us do what we 
believe is right, whether or not others agree; we have stood for things 
we believe in, while others have disagreed, and in this particular situa- 
tion my mind is made up. I fully explained in Hyde Park what I was 
going to do, and there is just no point in arguing about it." 

The conversation shifted to the convention again and Roosevelt said 
the only thing "which made me mad" during the whole convention 
was Glass's reference to the religious situation. I remarked'that Glass 
felt I was being discriminated against because I was a Roman Catholic. 
I asked FDR not to harbor hard feelings. I told him I did not want 
him or anyone else to criticize Glass in my presence, because he had 
done something for me I could never forget. I added that a lot of things 
happened at the convention which had made me mad. 

"Oh, the newspapers said this, some people said that, and you were 
supposed to have said thus and so," he said airily. 

"If you will tell me what I am supposed to have said, I'll tell you if 
I did say it," I offered. 

He said nothing. 

"It was just too silly for words the way Kelly and Hague acted," I 
went on. "Kelly acted as if he were running a ward caucus. The per- 
formance of 'the voice of the sewers' was beyond all decency." 

I then told him a story relayed to me by a newspaperman, that after 
the vice-presidential nomination, Hague was asking what kind of a 
fellow Wallace was. tlague said he did not know him very well. He 
urged this particular friend of Wallace's to get word to Henry that 
he should have some practical political advice and the best place to 
get it would be from Kelly and Hague. 

"Frank is muscling right in as usual," he laughed. 

"I want you to know that I feel deeply there was no justification for 
the pressure that was used to bring those Massachusetts votes to you 
from me," I said solemnly. "They were pledged to me in good faith 
and I should have had them. It's a little thing, maybe, but I want you to 
know how I feel." 

"I didn't know about it." 

3io f Jim Farley's story 

"Mr. President, you did know about it because I talked with you 
about it over the phone," I said. "I told you what Hopkins and the 
others were doing, and you told me you would take steps to stop it. 
I didn't ask a living soul to vote for me in Chicago, despite the advice 
of some of my friends. I didn't permit the New York delegation to be 
polled, although pressure was exerted on the New York delegates to 
be polled. Frankly, I think the pressure was unfair. I didn't want to 
embarrass anyone. But the fact is, I had been strongly urged to call for 
a showdown and resisted the pressure. My position was difficult, but 
I did the best I could. And I wouldn't stoop to the level of some of 
the other fellows working for you because it wasn't worth it." 

He said nothing one way or the other about this complaint. 

"Jim, I've told the family I want them to vote for me, but I also 
told them I wanted them to pray I will be defeated," he said with the 
air of one imparting a great secret, and then he grinned impishly. 

"That is the best thing that could happen to you," I said seriously. 
"And I'm not certain it won't happen. If anyone considers this one a 
walkover, he is crazy." 

"I am not going to do any campaigning, Jim, except over the radio. 
I don't propose to mention Willkie's name." 

"You won't have to," I put in. "Ickes and the others will take care 
of him." 

He nodded. 

"Frankly, Mr. President," I said, bringing up his statement to the 
convention, "I don't think your statement was a good one; I don't think 
you were frank enough. I think you would have been better off if 
you said you were against a third term, but a situation had been created 
under which everyone else had been eliminated and there was nothing 
else you could do but accept. I would have admitted responsibility and 
given the reasons why I did not come out before, if I had been you." 

"A situation could have been created which might have made me de- 
cline the nomination," he said. "That's why the statement was issued 
the way it was. It left me a loophole to get out if a situation developed 
where I did not have to accept the nomination, and I really didn't want 
it, Jim." 

Roosevelt pleads 311 

"That may have been so from your point of view/' I argued, "but 
I think you would have been better off from the point of view of the 
public if you had been more frank and had the statement issued along 
the lines I suggested. It would not have aff ected the delegates because 
they were for you, but the public would have accepted it in a better 
light. As it was, I think it had a bad effect for you. It's just an honest 
criticism on my part and I'm not going to tell you anything at any time 
that I don't think is right." 

I could see from the way he reacted that he didn't like what I was 
saying, although he expressed no resentment. He went back to the 
party chairmanship, showing clearly the whole purpose of the inter- 
view was to get me to remain. Apparently it had dawned on the third 
termers that I had some influence with the party organization and that 
it had been increased by my conduct at Chicago. 

"In this connection," I resumed, "I want to tell you that when the 
national committee met last January to select the convention site, I was 
apprehensive about the way Kelly would act. You will recall that it 
was you who wanted Chicago. For your information, Mr. President, I 
had about twelve proxies in my pocket I could have voted. They 
would have swung the convention to Philadelphia. I did not use them 
because I did not want to be placed in the position of fighting you." 

"The reason I wanted Chicago, Jim, was that I was afraid criticism 
might follow the selection of Philadelphia because of the Guffey- 
Lawrence fight for state control." 

"I don't know what your reasons were, but I was fearful of the 
thing which did happen in Chicago, and I want you to know how I 
feel about it." 

I rose to go. 

"Jim," he said, "you'll go down to the national committee meet- 
ing Thursday noon, won't you? " 

"I'll be glad to." 

"And, Jim, you'll sleep on your decision to leave?" 

"I will, but it's a closed case as far as I'm concerned." 

In the car, riding back to the Post Office Department alone, I was 
struck by a sudden thought: I wondered whether he wanted anyone 

Jim Farley's story 

in the party to succeed him as President, someone who might be suc- 
cessful and might clear up some of the disturbing problems, causing 
his record to suffer by comparison. 

I went back to New York that night but could not escape the ap- 
plication of presidential pressure to keep me in as chairman. On Mon- 
day, July 29, Frank Walker called, urging me to reconsider. He said 
he would not take the post under any circumstances. In the afternoon 
Edward J. Flynn came into my office at the Biltmore and pulled up 
a chair. He asked me to lay my cards on the table on the New York 

"Well, Ed, to make a long story short, I expected more votes and I 
was entitled to more votes," I said. "I sent Vince with a message to you 
fellows, saying I was not asking anyone to vote for me; that I would 
be as pleased with 40 votes as I would with 94. And you should have 
let me have them." 

"That was so," Flynn acknowledged, "but for some reason or other 
Joe Boyle insisted on a poll of the delegation. Under the circumstances 
Lehman wouldn't go along so. . . ." 

Flynn shrugged his shoulders and threw open his hands. 

"I might have been told," I complained. 

"Yes, but you know how those things are." 



THAT AFTERNOON I received a telegram from Mrs. Roosevelt, 
which read: "Can you meet me for luncheon tomorrow, 
Tuesday (July 30, 1940) Biltmore 12:30." We met in the 
lobby of the hotel and went to the roof. Neither of us was much in- 
terested in the menu or the pleasant dining room. 

After a few commonplaces, she turned to me with, "I'm not much 
for beating around the bush, especially with you. Isn't there some way 
you could remain as national chairman and arrange for someone else 
to run the campaign?" 

I started in to speak but she checked me with an admonishing finger. 

"Hear me out, Jim. I know your private situation and I'm asking 
that you let your name remain that you merely be nominal chairman 
of the committee. I am going to be terribly frank with you, Jim, and I 
know you'll understand. The simple fact is you have a better hold than 
anyone else has on the leaders, including the great rank and file of party 
workers, a better hold than, possibly, Franklin. You have been a great 
help to the party leaders big and little. They all know you. They 
all have a high regard for you. Your influence with them is very great. 
I know the high affection in which you are held throughout the coun- 
try. I have followed you into many of the communities you have 
visited. In every single one people are enthusiastic over you. They re- 
gard you as a friend, almost at sight. It means a great deal to have close 
contact between headquarters on the one hand and the party leaders 
and workers in the field on the other. You could assure this, and if you 
do, it would certainly be for the best interests of the party, and every- 
one would appreciate it." 

"I am going to return frankness with frankness, Mrs. Roosevelt," 
I began. "I have made up my mind, and that's the long and short of 
it. In my own mind I am convinced that it would not be fair to myself 


314 Jim Farley's story 

to change my decision now and it would not be fair to the party." 

I looked at her earnestly as I resumed: 

"And I'm going to tell you more than that. I think you are entitled 
to know it. For some time, for some reason, I don't understand ... I 
know Fm not making myself clear, but the gist of it is that I feel that 
the President has lost confidence in me; and to be very frank, I have 
lost confidence in him. He has failed for a long time to consult with 
me in the way I believe he should consult with me. In view of that 
lack of confidence, for want of a better term, I could not change my 
course of action." 

"I've felt there was something wrong," she hesitated. "I felt myself 
there was something wrong in the situation, but I wasn't sure about it. 
I wasn't sure because there was no reason for the existence of such a 


c Well, there it is," I said. "Naturally, it is disappointing to me that 
the President did not have, or rather, showed a lack of, confidence in 
me. This is especially hard to take, in view of the fact that down 
through the years I have given him the best of everything I have. You 
mentioned my travels; I have been in 1,500 communities in this coun- 
try. In each and every one of them I have tried my hardest to say and 
to do that which would reflect credit to his administration." 

"I know, I know," she nodded. 

"I don't know whether you know it or not, but the President never 
discussed his candidacy with me until that Sunday I saw him at Hyde 
Park," I said. 

"I never knew it either, believe me, until that afternoon," she cut in. 
"After you left, Franklin told me that he assumed he would have to 

"What did he say of me?" I asked, but before she could answer, I 
went on, "I have no right to ask that, so let's skip it. That's neither 
here nor there, and besides I have a good idea. What I'd rather know 
is, what do you think of the third term?" 

"Dead in the room, as you say," she looked up and laughed. I had to 
join in. "I don't know why anyone would want to be President during 
the next four years. However, inasmuch as Franklin wants to take the 

Mrs. Roosevelt pleads 315 

responsibility, and the decision is all his, it is my duty as a wife to try 
to see him reelected. There is simply nothing else I can do." 

She sighed. I gathered that deep down in her heart she felt he and 
the family would be better off if they did not have a campaign ahead; 
at least she felt that way at that particular moment. 

I told her that I felt, truthfully, that if she had not come to Chicago, 
the President would not have been able to get Wallace; that the con- 
vention would have named Jones. 

"It was mistake for the President to send Hopkins out to Chicago 
and set him up as third term consultant," I said. 

"Franklin insists that he didn't send him there for that purpose," she 

"Mrs. Roosevelt, let's keep this conversation on a reasonable basis," 
I said. "Everything at Chicago was directed by Hopkins. It would be 
ridiculous to maintain he did that on his own and without, let us say, 
White House knowledge. I told the President he could count on me 
to see to it that everything was done properly; but I had very few 
calls from him during the entire time I was in Chicago." 

"I've always consulted with you, Jim." 

"That's so," I acknowledged. 

"And I've always held you in high regard and respect," she said. 
"Undoubtedly you're the most popular man in the party, Jim. If you 
don't associate yourself with the campaign, it will be construed as a 
break with Franklin." 

"I'm sorry, but if that viewpoint should prevail, well, it will just 
have to prevail, that's all There is nothing I can do; there is no point 
in pressing the subject further. What I did in Chicago was not easy, 
and I did it the hard way." 

"I'm sorry, more sorry than you know, but I understand how you 
feel," she said. "By the way, you will be receiving a letter from Frank- 
lin's mother about giving up the management of his campaign. She 
doesn't like the idea and is going to tell you so. You must brace your- 
self for a letter telling you what she thinks; the old lady does not un- 
derstand anyone refusing a request from the Roosevelts." 

The letter came the next day from Hyde Park. It read; 

316 Jim Farley's story 


I think I wrote you to thank you for your kind letter after my sister 

Now I want to tell you that I do hope you will manage my son's cam- 
paign. I have such confidence in you! 

Ever sincerely, 

I replied August 3, after Flynn had been named my successor. I 


Thank you very much for your kind letter of July 30. 

As you have noted in the newspapers, our friend Ed Flynn has agreed 
to take over the Chairmanship; and I am sure he will carry on in an emi- 
nently satisfactory manner. The President fully understands my posi- 
tion, Mrs. Roosevelt, and I am sure when you discuss it with him, you will 
understand it too. 

It was indeed nice of you to write such a friendly note, and I shall always 
be grateful to you. 


The question of my nomination came up, when Mrs. Roosevelt and 
I were discussing Garner and Hull. 

"I don't think Garner would have made a good candidate," Mrs. 
Roosevelt said, "because of the difference in his viewpoint. But I 
would be happy to support you for any office; you would make a good 
President. Of course, I realize that the Catholic issue would be a prob- 
lem; but if anyone could overcome that, you are the man. You are so 
well and favorably known." 

"I want you to understand I had no serious ambitions for the Presi- 
dency at the convention," I said. "If I had had sufficient votes in the 
convention for the nomination, I would have been for Hull and would 
have been happy with the vice-presidential nomination. I believe in 
letting men come up in the party and would have taken my chances 
at top billing later. 

"Honestly, my first concern was for my country, and my party 
came second; and I was determined not to be swayed by any feeling 
against me to the detriment of my country. Anyone who knows me 
knows that. I have received nearly six thousand messages from all over 

Mrs. Roosevelt pleads 317 

the country from people sympathetic with my stand at Chicago; and 
I would be less than honest not to acknowledge I am flattered by such 
an expression of confidence. This makes it all the more difficult for me 
to understand the President's lack of confidence and the things that 
went on at Chicago." 

"Jim, Fm going to tell you something I have discussed with no one 
but Franklin," she said. "Harry Hopkins has complained to Franklin 
that he didn't like the way I talked to him at Chicago. You will re- 
member I went directly to the Stevens with you and then to the 'con- 
vention hall, so that I didn't see him. From the Stadium I went directly 
to the airport. 

"He called me at the airport, to say how sorry he was that he did 
not get to see me. I told him that I was sorry I didn't get to see him 
because there were some things I wanted to talk to him about that 
some things were going on that were not right. He said he realized 
that some things had happened of which he did not approve, but he 
hoped no one was hurt about it. I told him quite frankly I did not 
think he had political judgment and that he had helped create an un- 
favorable situation." 

She accompanied me downstairs, looking for Charley Michelson,' 
who, it developed, had returned to Washington. She told me she didn't 
think the President would make an extensive campaign; that his elec- 
tioneering would be done by radio and short trips. I agreed, adding 
that I thought the campaign would be unorthodox in a great many 
respects and there might be a very close fight in key states. 

I summed it up: "It all depends on the way Willkie handles himself." 



THURSDAY, AUGUST i, 1940, 1 came down to Washington for the 
meeting of the committee which had been named to pick my 
successor as chairman of the Democratic National Commit- 
tee, as I promised the President I would. Members of this committee 
were Flynn of New York, David Fitzgerald of Connecticut, W. W. 
Howes of South Dakota, Mrs. Mildred Jester of Ohio, and Miss Bea- 
trice Cobb of North Carolina. Others present were the President, Wal- 
lace, and myself. We took chairs around his desk. 

"You all know," he started off, as "Pa" Watson closed the door to 
the reception room, "there is an unusual situation existing in the coun- 
try today as a result of the war in Europe. This makes it highly impor- 
tant that there be unity in the country and in the party. During the 
seven and a half years I have been in office, the Democratic party has 
made a great record as a party. That has been due in a large measure 
to the splendid record Jim Farley has made as national chairman. 

"Everybody feels this. Henry and I have talked it over several times. 
Of course, we will talk with Jim about it. I know how Jim feels about 
his financial situation, and he is perfectly justified in wanting to take 
care of himself. But, and a great big but it is, we all feel it would not 
be the same if he does not take the chairmanship. In view of the world 
and national situation, he should be willing to carry on until the cam- 
paign is over; and if not that, he should at least act with the committee 
in an advisory capacity, giving them as much time as he can, in order 
that the committee may be benefited by his efforts." 

The President was in his best form. He was charming, disarming, 
persuasive, and intimate. His smile flashed on all, but the warmest 
smiles were directed at me. Wallace was seated at his left hand. I was 
to the left of Wallace; then came Fitzgerald, Howes, Mrs. Jester, Miss 
Cobb, and Flynn. Fm afraid I was a bit wooden because I knew I was 
being given the works, as he frequently termed his persuasive best. He 
went on; 


My last Cabinet meeting 319 

"Sentiment has developed in every section of the country for you 
to retain the chairmanship! From every state north, east, and west 
and also from the South. Everybody appreciates what you have done 
for the party. Everybody in the party knows you, Jim. And to know 
you is to love you. Your efforts have been appreciated by the rank 
and file and by the Committee as well. Why, ' Jim Farley' is practically 
a household expression. The party expects you to do your duty, Jim. 
The party needs you. The success of the party in the coming election 
and campaign would be assured with you at the helm, Jim." 

Dave Fitzgerald told me afterward that during this final plea the 
President kept looking at me almost beseechingly. I purposely looked 
away because I was fearful that I might show some of the resentment 
within me, with the result that I would be thrown off my stride. I was 
frankly annoyed at the appeal. I regarded it for what it was an act. 
This was the only time he had acknowledged my services since 1930, 
and then acknowledgment came only because he wanted to persuade 
me to his will. I am sure that he did not like this scene, that he did not 
like to have his importuning witnessed. It would have been all right 
had he won, so that he could have tossed the pleading off with a wise- 
crack about his power of persuasion. When he didn't win, he was 
humiliated. His pleading and the conduct toward me at Chicago and 
in the two years before did not jibe. It was too late for him to seek 
to recruit me aboard what he liked to term "a happy ship." 

Wallace followed with a plea of his own, based on national unity. 
He recalled a conversation with Mrs. Farley some months before in 
which he told her any feeling she or I might have regarding my con- 
tinuing in politics should be transcended by the situation in the coun- 
try and in the world. He insisted that for that reason I should carry on. 

Howes said it was essential for party victory that I carry on. Mrs. 
Jester said Democrats are naturally interested in Democratic success; 
therefore, it was important that I continue. I said nothing. 

"Jim, if you don't continue in the campaign, the impression will be 
created by newspaper columnists and by newspapers opposed to the 
administration that there is a break, and that would have its effect, a 
harmful effect," the President resumed. 

"I am not responsible for the articles the newspapers write about 

320 Jim Farley's story 

you or me or anybody else," I broke in. "I certainly cannot dictate 
their policies and I should not be held responsible for what they say 
or do." 

"But, Jim, your silence might give credence to the reports that have 
been and will continue to be circulated," he said gently. "You're silent 


"All right, you have asked for it," I began. "I took a definite position 
in Chicago. I have a definite position now before the country. I took 
that course honestly and sincerely, and I followed it as graciously as 
Lknew how. During the convention and since, I have tried to conduct 
myself as a gentleman should and as a loyal Democrat. For thirty-one 
years I have been interested in the success of the Democratic party, 
because whatever position I hold now in the party and in the eyes of 
the country was made possible by the Democratic party. Therefore, 
no one no one has any right to question my desire to see the party 
successful. There is no reason why anyone should make a statement 
regarding my activity in the campaign. All you have to do is be patient 
with me and let me carry on in my own way. The fact that I am will- 
ing to take care of the New York State chairmanship should be suffi- 
cient evidence of my regard and affection for the party. I am not a 
fifth columnist. My record down through the years ought to be ample 
evidence to the country concerning my party. No one should dictate 
what I do or say." 

I told them everyone assembled must understand full well that I 
occupied a position of my own, in my own right, before the country 
and I certainly had a right to protect that position. Wallace took ex- 
ception to the last statement, insisting my party obligations ranked 
highest. I might have slapped him down as a Johnny-come-lately who 
had no right to preach to me, but that would have been mean and 

"I certainly have the right to do what I think is proper from my own 
point of view, regardless of party," I emphasized. "No one has a right 
to complain about my services to the party. For eight years I have 
given freely of my services and ability, working from early morning 
into late night, and on Sundays and holidays. I liked to do that. In 
any position I ever held I tried to perform faithfully and well, be- 

My last Cabinet meeting 321 

cause I get a great deal out of a job well done. There's personal pleasure 
and satisfaction in doing that. Everyone who ever knew anything 
about me knows that." 

"I'm afraid that Willkie's election would be a terrible thing for the 
country, because of the influence of those who will be around him," 
Wallace said. "That same group in the old Republican days were re- 
sponsible for the death of my father." 

"That might be true, from your viewpoint, Henry," I said, regard- 
ing his statement as a most unusual one, "but, by the same token, many 
people feel that the reputed influence of Hopkins and others is bad." 

The friendliness in the President's eyes died. 

"I am glad you used the word 'reputed/ " he snapped. 

"I never said Hopkins had any influence with you, but that doesn't 
take away from the fact that many people in the country do consider 
there is such an influence and, very frankly, it has a bad effect on the 
nation," I told him. "I don't like to say it, but it is an honest statement 
in answer to Henry's argument about Willkie." 

"I would hate to see Willkie President," he switched the subject. 
"You know, all the time I have been Governor and President I never 
called out the National Guard or troops to suppress strikes or disturb- 
ances of any character. I didn't do it in the strike at Flint, Michigan, 
several years ago. I'm afraid that, should like circumstances arise in 
the future, Willkie would do just that." 

"Willkie might be forced into that position whether he wanted 
to be or not," Wallace put in. 

"Generally speaking, I got along pretty well with Congress and 
I don't know whether Willkie would," the President ignored the in- 
terruption. "I'm afraid Willkie would have trouble with Congress." 

"You've had your troubles with Congress, too," I quipped. 

"No, I haven't." He was plainly annoyed. 

"I was just kidding!" 

'It's too important a thing to be kidding about," he grumbled. 
"While Congress has disagreed with me about some questions, I have 
been on friendly terms with members on both sides. With a few ex- 
ceptions, I have probably been on friendlier terms than any other 
Democratic President has been. The Democratic party has been sue- 

32 i Jim Farley's story 

cessful in every election since 1932, which is a greater string of vic- 
tories, I guess, than the party has had since Jackson's time." 

Fitzgerald, about this time, said he understood my position full well; 
that he had talked to me in Chicago; that he had urged me to carry on; 
that no one wanted me to carry on more than himself; but that he con- 
sidered it unfair to press me to carry on in view of the position I had 

"We could go on talking here for hours about the necessity of my 
carrying on, but we just aren't going to get anywhere," I continued. 
"I appreciate the confidence expressed in me. You have not been alone 
in that expression. Many Senators, Congressmen, leaders, and others 
have asked me to continue. I have told one and all, as I have told you, 
that I have made my decision. You could talk for days and not change 
my mind. You have to permit me to handle this situation in my own 
way. Any effort to force me to do what I do not want to do, or to 
force me to say anything I do not want to say, or to have someone 
speak for me, will not be met favorably by me. You will just have to 
adjust your minds to my position." 

Flynn spoke for the first time. The meeting had been going on for 
fifty minutes. 

"We all know Jim Farley well enough to know that when he says 
it is definite, we should not under any circumstances press him to say 
or do anything he does not want to," he said. 

"We have talked this possibility over," Roosevelt said. His eyes no 
longer searched for mine. He looked at the ceiling, down at the floor, 
or on his desk. "We hoped that Jim would accept. Of course, there 
is no use talking about trying to find someone who will do the job 
as well as Jim has for the last eight years. We just won't be able to find 
anyone in his class, or two or three classes below. In view of the fact 
that Jim won't accept, we feel an Irish- American should be elected to 
succeed him, In view of the circumstances, we think Ed Flynn is the 
fellow to do it. Ed doesn't want to assume the responsibility, but we 
think it is the best thing to do." 

I thought this was a rather derogatory introduction for Flynn, even 
though I was aware that the President was trying to build me up as an 

My last Cabinet meeting 

indispensable man, in a limited field, of course. He was flattering me 
and appealing to my vanity. 

"Mr. President, I'm delighted with the appointment/' I said. "Fin 
glad Ed decided to take it. That solves your problem," 

"I guess I'm an easy mark," Flynn muttered. 

I shook hands with Flynn, remarking, "I don't know whether to 
congratulate you or to commiserate with you." 

"My wife will kill me for this," he said ruefully. 

We all joined in the laugh that this remark occasioned. 

Even now I find it rather difficult to describe the atmosphere for the 
split second following the naming of Flynn; I am certain the announce- 
ment was a surprise to everybody except Flynn. It was evident he 
and the President had decided before the meeting in the event that the 
final effort to land me failed. Flynn made a few remarks. He said he 
realized more than anyone else that it would be a difficult job to follow 
in my footsteps, but he would exert every energy toward another 
Democratic victory. Despite his claims over the years that he disliked 
the limelight, I felt he was rather glad to step in to take his share of 
honor and glory, as most of us are. 

The meeting broke up almost immediately. 

The next few days were busy ones for me. After a series of con- 
ferences with Robert W. Woodruff, president of the Coca-Cola Com- 
pany, I decided to throw in my lot with that corporation, a decision 
which I have never regretted. If I pass it by lightly, it is because I 
regard the relationship as an intimate part of my personal life and, 
however important to me, not a part of the story of the politics of 
the day. I was also busy with the state campaign, spending hours in 
headquarters with Dailey and others. I was on the phone and writing 
letters as much as ever. 

My most important letter of this period was written August 7, 1940. 
It was my letter of resignation from the Cabinet. This letter was, per- 
haps, longer than it should have been, as it was not an easy letter to 
write in view of the political situation. I reviewed my accomplish- 
ments as administrator of the Post Office Department, commended my 
associates, nodded to chairmen on the Congressional post offices and 

324 Ji m Farley *s story 

post roads committees, and concluded with the traditionally formal ex- 
pressions of regret. 

"I want you to know how much I appreciate the honor you con- 
ferred upon me and the trust you placed in me when you appointed 
me to this important position in your Cabinet when you took office 
on March 4, 1933," I wrote in the second paragraph. I closed with, 
"Again expressing my deepest gratitude at the opportunity you af- 
forded me to serve as a member of your Cabinet, and with kindest 
personal regards, I am faithfully yours," and I scrawled my name in 
familiar green ink. 

The letter of acceptance was one of the President's best efforts; 
every line was calculated to show there was no break. It read: 


I accept, with real regret, your resignation as Postmaster General, to 
become effective at the close of business on Aug. 31. 

First of all, I want to tell you of my own sincere sorrow that we are losing 
you as a member of the official family. At the same time, as I have told you, 
I fully understand and appreciate the personal reasons which recall you 
to private business after aU these unselfish years in the public service. I con- 
gratulate you on your new work and send you every wish that it may, in 
every way, be successful. 

Under your administration the Post Office Department of the United 
States has made great strides in business efficiency, in service to the public, 
and in the outstanding morale of its more than 300,000 employes. That 
the post office service is on a completely self-sustaining basis with respect 
to that part that is rendered to the public for hire is in itself a real tribute 
to you and your associates. 

All of us in the administration will miss you deeply; we count on seeing 
you often. I especially count on this after all of our years of close personal 
association. Our friendship will always continue. 

I need not tell you that you have always my affectionate regards. 

Faithfully yours, 

A few days later Jesse Jones's appointment as Secretary of Com- 
merce was announced. I phoned him congratulations, remarking that 
Roosevelt had evidently decided Jones could come in if Farley was 
going out, but that we couldn't be around together. He thought I had 
it about right. 

My last Cabinet meeting 325 

Near the end of the month I received an invitation to lunch with 
the President at the White House before what was to be my last 
Cabinet meeting. I left on the nine-fifteen train for the Capital and 
dictated all the way down, clearing up a mass of correspondence. I 
said good-by to General Edwin M. Watson, the President's appoint- 
ment secretary; Rudolph Forster, executive clerk; John Latta, his as- 
sistant; and my good friend, press secretary Early. 

At this meeting I said I had a few requests to make. "Anything you 
want," he promised. I said I was interested in protecting three men 
on my office payroll. I said I was particularly interested in protecting 
Ambrose O'Connell in his position as First Assistant Postmaster Gen- 
eral. He inquired after Ambrose's health, and I told him Ambrose, who 
had been laid up for weeks, was making satisfactory progress. I also 
asked him to do the same for Bill Bray, who had been my secretary 
and was now, special assistant to the Postmaster General. I also spoke 
about my desire to have an executive order issued bringing Harold 
Ambrose, chief press relations officer of the Post Office Department, 
in under civil service. All these things were done promptly. 

I said there was no one else I had a deep personal interest in except 
Eddie Roddan of the Democratic Committee. I had already spoken to 
Flynn about Eddie, I said, and had his promise to watch out for him. 
I remarked on what a good job Eddie had done with the "Battle Page," 
the campaign material supplied by Republicans and Democrats in the 
New York Daily News in 1936 and said he was preparing to do a 
better one in the coming campaign. Jokingly, I reported Eddie was 
worried that Willkie wouldn't give him the competition Landon had. 
The President laughed, 

"And now," he said gleefully, "I have news for you splendid news. 
I am going to send Frank Walker's name to the Senate next week 
as Postmaster General." 

"That makes me very happy," I said. "Frank will be satisfactory to 
the organization as set up, and will not disturb it when he moves 


"By the way, I am very glad about your connection with Coca- 

326 Jim Farley's story 

He asked about the situation in New England. I said at present it 
appeared bad, except for Massachusetts, but the difficulties might be 
worked out. He asked what was being done in New York about the 
electors of the American Labor Party, and I told him they would go 
along with the Democratic electors. 

"Mr. President," I said, "I want to ask a pointed question." 

"Shoot," he invited. 

"What happened to Louis Johnson on the job of Secretary of War? " 

"Oh," he answered brightly, "Louis talked too much. By the way, 
what did you think of my appointment of Jesse? " 

"It was a good appointment. You must recall that I tried to sell you 
Jesse before you appointed Hopkins and you asked me, 'Why put 
Jesse Jones in the Cabinet and build him up as a presidential possibil- 
ity?' It's apparent to me now you consider Jesse too old for 1944, or 
you have not made up your mind what to do then." 

He looked at me quickly, laughed, but made no comment. 

"I don't think Wallace will help much in the sugar beet country; 
you ought to keep him out of there," I said. "And if you have any 
more speeches by Ickes attacking Tammany Hall, they certainly ought 
to make the country safe for Willkie." 

He knew I was kidding but that there was a vein of truth near the 
surface of the jokes. He made no comment, but asked what I thought of 
the appointment of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York to the 
Joint Canadian-American Defense Commission, saying he thought it 
was a good one. I wanted to say, "It was good politics," but never let 
that one pass the tip of my tongue. 

Here he remarked Joe Guff ey was coming in shortly and he wanted 
me to stay until the Senator left. 

"I ought not to be around," I laughed, "because Joe might want 
to talk something political." 

"I think Joe wants to talk about removing the WPA administrator 
in Pennsylvania, some retired army officer," he said. 

"This is no time to be removing WPA administrators." 

"Don't I know it?" he laughed. 

Guffey was announced. He came ponderously to a chair. 

"Come in, Joe, come in," the President invited. "Look who we have 

My last Cabinet meeting 327 

with us. Don't pay any attention to him; he's just an innocent by- 

He enjoyed this joshing immensely. They discussed the President's 
impending visit to Pennsylvania. Joe left a suggested itinerary for 
the "defense inspection" jaunt. 

"What I want to know is," Guffey said turning to me, "who do I 
consult on political matters, now that you are leaving Washington?" 

"Talk with Frank Walker, Joe," the President answered for me. 
"He's going to succeed Jim. Don't tell anyone, though, because it's a 
deep secret!" 

When I got back to my office in the department, the big secret was 
already on the news ticker. The night may have a thousand eyes, as 
the poet said, but Washington has an ear to every keyhole. 

After Guffey left, the President talked about the war situation. 

"The British seem to be in a better position now. They are holding 
on all right. If they can get by the next month or so, they will find 
a great ally in the weather. They should hold on through the winter. 
Food is the problem. I think Europe might get through this winter, 
as far as food is concerned; but I don't think they can get by next win- 


From luncheon we went into the Cabinet meeting. 

"Everyone knows how sorry I am Jim is leaving the Cabinet and 
the administration," Roosevelt said. "Everyone is sorry with me. You 
have made such a valuable contribution to my success, Jim, that I'm 
holding this chair for you to come back to again, after you make your 
first million." 

"I'd be satisfied with a half million," I interposed, but did not say 
I'd come back to the chair. "I'm afraid, though, they are already be- 
ginning to sabotage my job a little bit, because right opposite me on 
the Cabinet table there are some matches advertising another soft 

Everybody craned their necks to look at the matches. There was a 
general laugh. 

"Don't you just love it? " the President chuckled. 

"Seriously," I continued, "I, too, am sorry to leave the Cabinet, but 
there must be an end to everything." 

328 Jim Farley's story 

I shook hands all around before I left. Secretary of War Stimson 
told me how happy he was to meet me and know me for even so short 
a period. Quite candidly, he told me he thought I was a terrible person, 
for a long, long while; then he came to Washington, observed me, and 
changed his mind. I told him I was glad he put it that way and added 
that a great many people had said the same thing. When I first came 
on the Washington scene, many persons throughout the country re- 
garded me as a Tammany Hall politician, in the worst sense of the 
word, which I was not. It flattered my vanity to have people tell me 
they had changed their minds about me, because I regarded that as 
evidence I was growing in stature. 

Frances Perkins, who was always friendly to me and loyal to the 
President, was rather emotional in her farewell. She said she felt that 
Cordell Hull and I had saved many a situation in Cabinet meetings 
during the seven and a half years I was in the body; that the people of 
the country never realized the contribution I had made. She said the 
other members of the Cabinet felt exactly as she did. The place would 
not be the same without me, she concluded. I thanked her. It was no 
little tribute coming from a misunderstood and unappreciated woman, 
who had made no little contribution herself, even if one were to count 
nothing but the blows she took for others. 

Just before I left I said good-by to the President. 

"Take care of things in my absence," I said. "And protect my in- 

terests. 7 ' 

"It's not good-by, Jim, because I want you to see me whenever you 
pass through the city," he said. "Give my regards to Bess." 

We shook hands. 

I carried his words to Bess the next day. 

The remaining few days were spent in farewells. My office was like 
a telephone booth in Grand Central Station; no sooner did one caller 
leave than another took his place. Most of them came just for a hand- 
shake and a good-by. Some, like Bascom Timmons, remained for a few 
minutes at my insistence. In his case we talked about the Vice Presi- 
dent, because he was probably the closest man to Garner in the capital 
I told him that Jack would be subject to considerable criticism if he 
did not return. Timmons agreed, but said Garner was so angry with 

My last Cabinet meeting 329 

the President, he didn't want to come back to meet him face to face 
at Cabinet meetings. 

I had lunch with Speaker Bankhead, who was still very annoyed 
with what had happened in Chicago; and he was fearful of what might 
happen to the party in November. I tried to quiet him by saying that 
what had happened at Chicago had happened and nothing could be 
done about it, and, as for what was coming, the worst had never hap- 
pened yet. 

"Jim, there was never such downright perfidy in political history 
since Reconstruction/' he said. "I never saw any good in Reconstruc- 
tion and I guess Fm still unreconstructed, an unreconstructed Demo- 
crat, born and bred and not far from the grave. Why, Jim, do you 
know they gave me the green light?" 

"They gave it to Louis Johnson," I smiled. "But they turned it red 
at the next corner." 

"They didn't wait for me to turn the corner," he stormed. "This 
is the way it was, Jim. I wanted my name placed in nomination for the 
Presidency. I didn't expect anything to come of it, but I wanted that 
honor before I died. I've been going to conventions for years, voting 
for men who have done less for the party and less for the country. 
People out of Nebraska and people out of New York. No reflection in- 
tended against you, Jim; you act more like you came from Alabama. 

"Well, Hopkins and Steagall and Lister Hell, I mean Hill, talked 
me out of submitting my name so the delegation could go for Roose- 
velt. In turn, they pledged me their word that they wouldn't interfere 
with me for Vice President. I meant to submit my name for Vice Presi- 
dent. I never trusted Hopkins much, but Steagall and Hill were South- 
erners and from my own state, and I expected they would make a 
reasonable effort to keep their words. There was no question that an 
understanding was reached and solemn pledges exchanged. 

"The next thing I knew the President was calling to ask me to stand 
aside for Wallace. Now Roosevelt wasn't a party to the agreement, 
but his men had made it, and I felt it was binding. I told him so. I told 
him I would present my name, because I figured he had broken his 

"Then they called John (Senator Bankhead, his brother) and tried 

330 Jim Farley's story 

to get him to get me to vote for Wallace. Jimmy Byrnes did that. John 
MacCormack promised to vote for me and ran out. So did Sam Ray- 
burn, who worked for Wallace. 

"I don't care for myself, but I wanted a Democrat for Vice Presi- 
dent, especially since I wasn't sure we have one for President." 

That afternoon I said farewell to the Post Office employees. I shook 
hands with some 1,100 who filed by. I had a word of thanks for each 
and was glad to have had the opportunity of delivering it. 

Saturday morning I went over to the State Department, wandered 
through its aisles of shutter-like doors and into Hull's office on the 
south side of that ornate granite structure. He was in excellent fettle 
after a vacation at White Sulphur Springs. 

"Looks like you're getting out, Jim," he approached my situation 
cagily. "Don't know that I'll be around long myself; might not be 
here much longer than the end of this administration, along about next 

"That's your decision and I don't give advice unless it's asked for," 
I said. "I just called to pay my respects, and to say that one of the 
greatest pleasures in my stay in Washington was that I got to know 
you so intimately and well. I am going to miss you more than anyone, 
and I say that from the bottom of my heart." 

"That's mighty fine, Jim," he said. "You know my regard for you 
and it's nice to have it reciprocated." 

"You're the one I would like to see running in November. I have 
told everyone that, including the President, as you know. I say that 
not only because I like you personally, but for the good of the party 
and the good of the country." 

"Thank you," he said simply. "I haven't any burning desire to be 
President, although I am grateful. Some people seem to think I had such 
desires. Since the Gallup poll showed me stronger than he is (he 
looked significantly in the direction of the White House), every ef- 
fort has been made to destroy me. I don't understand it. If they de- 
stroy me, they destroy part of themselves, part of the country's posi- 
tion before the world. 

"Now that it's all over, I think I was treated unfairly by that fel- 
low in his not letting my name go before the convention or in giving 

My last Cabinet meeting 331 

me an opportunity to have my name go before the convention. That 
is not so bad, however, because, as I say, I have no desire to be Presi- 
dent. I do think I have been treated unfairly in that I have received 
no recognition for what I have done as Secretary of State in a most 
trying and most vital period of this country's history. At all times I 
have tried to be helpful. I have been helpful at every turn. Not one 
word of commendation has come my way. I've talked it over at home 
a lot." 

"What about the Vice Presidency?" I asked. 

"Oh, that," he leaned back in his chair and smiled. "He tried every- 
thing he could think of to get me to take it. He argued and smiled. 
Then he smiled and argued. I said, 'No, by God!' and 'By God, no!' 
and that's all there was to it. I felt he was trying to kick me upstairs. 
I'd rather go." 

"Who can he put in your place, Cordell?" I asked. 

"I have no idea," he replied. "He can get awful set and stubborn. 
I don't know whether he would name Sumner or not. I'm not going 
to worry about it. I am going to spend spring, summer, and fall in 
Tennessee and winters in Florida." 

"He'll be after you to take another term, and I would be if I were 
in his shoes and reelected, of course," I said. 

"I've got some reading I'd like to do and I'd like to write my mem- 
oirs," he said. 

"Well, don't forget to mention that I still think Hull and Farley 
would have made a great ticket and could have won hands down," I 

I took the two o'clock train to New York City. 



I DID NOT return to Washington for a month. On my arrival I put 
in a call to Garner. 
"My name's Farley," I said when I had him on the phone. "I 
used to be in politics/' 

"Well, I guess Fm in the has-been class myself but don't know it," 
he countered. "But then, I never was as smart as you, Jim. You're one 
fellow who has grown more in public life than anybody I have ever 
known and that takes in a lot of years, boy." 

"Well, don't let them get you down," I advised. , 

"I ain't, Jim," he said. "I'm going to live to be ninety-three. I'll live 
to pass judgment on a lot of these fellows around here." 

"Why ninety-three?" I asked. "Why not a hundred?" 

"Oh, Bascom Timmons and I picked it out, liked the sound of it." 

I asked if I could see him and he told me he was going home that 

"Can't stand this third term business, Jim," he said. "I don't want 
to be around for the inaugural it would be too depressing. And I'm 
afraid for the President; I don't know how he'll carry on if he gets it. 
Fm sure I won't like the way he'll carry on." 

"Don't be bitter," I cautioned. 

"Me bitter?" he snorted. "A dozen years ago I gave up hating. I 
tried to go to bed every night without hating anybody or envying 
anybody. And I found I got rid of worries. Never had any since. 
Nearest I ever come to breaking it was when I got in an argument with 
the Boss on sit-down strikes. Ain't going to argue with him or anyone 
else. Wouldn't get much chance to argue with him, anyway. He hasn't 
said anything to me since I got back from Uvalde." 

"That's difficult to believe," I said. "If you hadn't told me, I 
wouldn't believe it." 

"It's difficult for me, too, Jim. It's so small," he said. "But there it 


Third term election 333 

is. I'm disappointed in the Boss over it. I am disappointed in the way 
Jimmy Byrnes and some others have acted, but Fm not mad. Fm going 
home to hunt and fish. Might be fishing when Election Day rolls 
around, but I guess Fll vote." 

"Fm going to vote the ticket, John," I explained. "I owe it to the 
party. But I won't make any speeches." 

Later I talked to Jesse Jones, who confirmed the story of the ignor- 
ing of Garner at Cabinet meetings. At the last Cabinet meeting, Jones 
said, Garner rushed to the head of the table, seized the President's hand 
and said, "Good-by, Boss. I congratulate you in advance. I am going 
home and, after I vote, I am going out to the bush and am going hunt- 

In all this period I continued to get letters praising me for my posi- 
tion or taxing me for my failure to stump for the President. Disturbing 
reports were coming in from party leaders throughout the country. 
Most of the leaders were gloomy because they were being ignored by 
the third termers and felt that the ticket was being injured through 
nonrecognition of the party machinery. 

On October 15, former Governor James M. Cox called me to tell 
of his visit with the President at Hyde Park. He said the President said 
I was sore and asked that Cox talk to me, which Cox said he would 
not do. Cox described the President as worried about the outlook and 
particularly worried about what deflection would result from what 
he termed the Farley break. I said that things were in a bad way west 
of the Mississippi and also said there was a shift in Willkie's favor, but 
could not say whether it would be sufficiently strong to carry him in. 
I noted Willkie was smoking the President out into the campaign, 
which the latter had had no intention of entering. I said New York 
was safe; that I knew that for certain. 

On October 22, 1 issued the statement on which I had long deliber- 
ated. I said: 

Thirty-one years ago I was elected Chairman of the Democratic town 
committee in Stony Point, Rockland County, New York, and down 
through the years I have served as chairman of my county committee, 
chairman of my state committee, and I am still serving as Chairman of the 
Democratic State Committee of New York. 

334 J^ m Farley's story 

It was my great honor to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National 
Committee during the two great campaigns of 1932 and 1936. 1 deeply ap- 
preciate the honors that have been paid me by my party and I shall ever be 
grateful for the loyalty and devotion I have always received during my 
years of party activities. 

During the period outlined above I have preached party loyalty and 
pleaded for the success of my party. I did that because I sincerely believe 
in the Democratic party, in its principles and objectives. 

At the national convention of the Democratic party in Chicago at 
which I was a candidate for the Presidency after the balloting was over, 
I pledged my support to the nominees of that Convention. That pledge 
was made in good faith. I shall vote the straight Democratic ticket on No- 
vember 5, and I urge the members of my party to do likewise. 

It has amazed me that some persons find my course difficult to un- 
derstand. Most of these would have had me support the Republican 
candidate. I had made my fight within my party. I had lost that 
fight. It therefore became incumbent on me to go along with the ma- 
jority of my party. I might have broken before the convention; but 
I had no right to do so after participating in the convention, which 
participation, to my mind, carried the obligation to go along with the 
convention decision. My party had not declared war on my country, 
nor had the country declared war on the party. I could not see that my 
desertion was called for or justifiable. 

I spent all my time during the campaign in my office on the fourth 
floor of the Biltmore Hotel, performing the duties of chairman of the 
Democratic state committee. I was in daily, indeed continuous, con- 
tact with Vincent Dailey, whom I had appointed as campaign manager 
for upstate for the duration of that campaign. I conferred with, ad- 
vised, and aided in every way possible, the upstate county leaders, 
regularly; and they all understood my anxiety that President Roose- 
velt carry New York State more than just substantially, so that no 
censure could be directed at me regarding my conduct as state com- 
mittee chairman. 

Throughout the campaign I was consulted by National Chairman 
Flynn, Mrs. Roosevelt, Miss Mary C. Dewson, and other department 
heads of the national campaign's activities. Whenever I was called 

Third term election 335 

upon to do so I gave the best advice and suggestions I could toward 
the successful conduct of the campaign. 

On Sunday evening, October 28, 1 received the following wire from 
the White House: 

James A. Farley (Personal Delivery Only) 

1040 Fifth Avenue 

DEAR JIM: I have been trying to get you since lunch time today. I am 
delighted you will be at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night and I 
greatly hope you will join me on train Mott Haven Yard at 8: 30 P.M. and 
drive with me in my car to the Garden and be on the platform with me 
during my speech. I am looking forward to seeing you. 


There was nothing to do but for me to accept, inasmuch as I already 
planned to go as chairman of the state committee. I called Ed Flynn 
to tell him I was coming and would bring Vincent Dailey with me. 
Flynn said he was bringing Tammany leader Christy Sullivan. We 
reached the yard at the appointed time and went to the dining room 
of the President's car. He was working at the other end of the car, 
the Roald Amundsen. 

"Well, well, well," the President beamed, "here is the first of the 
four horsemen." 

"Yes, and probably the last one," I answered his laugh. 

"Glad to see you aboard, Jim." He pulled me down into a chair 
beside him. 

"Jim, I've got a bone to pick with you," he said. "What do you 
mean by coming to Washington and not coming to see me to discuss 
what's going on?" 

"Mr. President, I'm pretty busy and don't want to bother another 

busy man," I said. 

"I'll forgive you this time, but next time you are there, don't fail 
to come and see me," he insisted. 

I talked about the coming upstate trip, saying a mistake had been 
made in the Rochester plans, because two streets had been omitted in 
the tour of the city. I said "Wincent" would see that such things didn't 
happen; that the trip should be like a fireman's parade missing noth- 

336 Jim Farley's story 

ing. The President said arrangements should be made to take "Win- 
cent" along. This form of the name in referring to Vincent Dailey 
was a standing joke between us. 

Soon it was time to leave for the Garden. The President said he was 
sorry there wasn't room for "Wincent." With a grin he ordered Flynn 
into the small seat in front, placed me beside him, and Sullivan beside 

We did not get a great deal of talking in, as he was busy flashing 
his smile on the crowd and waving his battered campaign hat. In the 
quiet stretches of the Bronx I teased him about Ickes, saying I had been 
advised he was making quite an impression all over the country, espe- 
cially in the West. 

"My God, Jim, they don't want him in lots of places/' he said. 

"That's surprising to me," I mocked. 

"Ha-ha-ha," he jeered. (Here he stopped to wave.) "But we are 
having trouble with some of the farm audiences. Have to tell you 
about it later." 

"How's your mother?" I asked as he went on. "Please remember 
me to her." 

"Fine, thanks," he said. "I'm trying to keep her at Hyde Park. She 
is eighty-six years old and will probably live longer than I." 

"You should put your hat on or you'll catch cold," I said at another 

"I like to keep it off," he said lightly. 

"Yes, you always did and in the ring," I said significantly. 

He laughed, but not heartily. 

We got to the Garden a bit ahead of time. A number of times dur- 
ing the ride he asked me about the opposition of John L. Lewis. He 
seemed to be worried about the defection of the labor leader. I said I 
did not think Lewis would sway any real Democrats but that, he might 
have some effect in areas where whole groups do not follow a party 
line. He nodded. 

I never could understand it, but evidently my appearance with the 
President was a pleasant surprise to the audience. I could see amaze- 
ment on faces in the press box and a hurried beating of typewriters. 
Out in the audience I spotted some raised eyebrows. 

Third term election 337 

It was my custom each year, starting with the 1928 campaign, to 
send a telegram to all of the Democratic workers upstate, a day or so 
prior to the close of the campaign, making a last minute appeal, urging 
them on to their greatest efforts on election day in getting every pos- 
sible vote to the polls for Democratic party nominees. I sent such a 
wire on November 3, 1940, to approximately eleven thousand party 
workers in New York State north of the Bronx line. A copy of that 
wire was carried by all the press associations and appeared on the front 
page of nearly every daily paper in the United States, morning and 
afternoon, on November 3. After election I was told by countless party 
leaders and active Democrats that they believed that wire was ex- 
tremely beneficial to President Roosevelt throughout the country, as 
well as in New York State, and helped materially in swelling his ma- 

The wire read: 

Since 1928 I have been sending last minute messages to the Democratic 
party workers in New York urging their efforts in behalf of Democratic 
party nominees. There never was a time during the years that have passed 
in the campaigns in which we have worked together when I have been more 
deeply concerned than at the present time for the success of the Demo- 
cratic ticket in the State of New York. It is of the greatest importance for 
party success that we keep down the Republican majority upstate to the 
lowest possible figure to make certain that New York State will be in the 
Democratic column on election night. I therefore personally urge you 
to put forth every effort at your command and to work with those asso- 
ciated with you to the end that every possible vote obtainable is brought 
to the polls on Election Day in support of President Roosevelt and the 
entire Democratic ticket. This is an extremely urgent and important mes- 
sage and I am sure you will regard it in that light. 

Chairman, Democratic State 

Hotel Biltmore, New York, N.Y. 

On Election night, when it became evident that he had scored an- 
other victory, I called Roosevelt to congratulate him, being truly glad 
the Democratic party would remain in power. He was in the highest 
of spirits. We exchanged only a few words. I offered my congratula- 

338 Jim Farley's story 

tions and he accepted them with joyous thanks. A few weeks later I 
wrote as follows: 

November 23, 1940. 

Since talking with you on the telephone election night when I personally 
extended congratulations on your reelection, I have avoided writing or 
calling you because I realize how busy you are with the important matters 
confronting you at the present time. 

However, I am writing you now because I want you to know I have a 
deep and sincere interest in the success of your new administration. In 
electing you for a third term the American people gave you an unprece- 
dented honor, and I am sure you are determined that they shall never re- 
gret it. There were some who used the third-term issue as a convenient front 
to oppose you and there were some honestly concerned about the breaking 
of this tradition, and I happened to be in the latter group. Nothing would 
make me happier than that your accomplishments during the new term 
will confound the first group and reassure the second. 

Again I extend my sincere good wishes for the success of your adminis- 
tration and for your personal good health. 


I did not receive a reply until the next month. It came dated Decem- 
ber 3, 1940, from aboard the Presidential Special as Roosevelt was 
heading for Warm Springs. The letter follows: 


Thank you for yours of the twenty-third. You know I am a funny fellow 
in that unlike many, many people I do not get excited by what you call an 
"unprecedented honor." The reason is that I am perhaps a little "queer" 
in never having sought public office for "honor." 

To put it another way, I would have been just as content in my own 
heart and conscience to give service to the country as a private citizen as 
I would to give service to the country as a first-term or a third-term 

I am off for an attempt to get two weeks of sunshine and I do hope 
you will run in and see me when I get back. I would really love to talk to 
you quietly about a lot of things that intimately relate today to the future 
generations of America. 

Is it true you are going to South America? Let me know if I can help. 

My best to you all. 

/ As ever, 


Third term election 339 

And the letter was unsigned! It bore nothing but the typewritten 
initials, "F.D.R." Later I learned that the President had deliberately 
chosen to let it go unsigned. 



I DID NOT see Roosevelt again until January 4, 1941, when I was in 
Washington arranging a trip to South America. I phoned to pay 
my respects, and "Pa" Watson invited me over. The President 
was having his hair cut. I thought he looked pretty well and said so. 
He replied he was quite busy on his "four freedoms" message to Con- 
gress, but felt well. We discussed the war. 

"There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that Hitler will be de- 
feated/' he said, "but it will take more than a year to do it. Italy is con- 
siderably weakened and won't be of much use to the Axis for the bal- 
ance of the war." 

He then switched to consideration of the neutrality of Eire, saying: 

"The Irish should give bases to England to facilitate the moving of 
supplies and maintenance of sea lanes. If they persist in refusing the 
bases, the British would be right in refusing to permit shipping with 
them after the war. Canada and England could get together and Ire- 
land would suffer. De Valera is a bore and a dreamer." 

I defended De Valera as a patriot arid as one of the shrewdest and 
most honest and intelligent statesmen I had met in my travels. 

He sent for Miss Le Hand and dictated a general letter of introduc- 
tion for me. He said he knew President Vargas of Brazil very well, 
adding Vargas wasn't the least like other South American leaders, 
being more progressive in his view and a more capable administrator. 
The letter was most helpful. 

On my return from my two months' tour, I had a few minutes with 
Roosevelt on March 15, 1941. His schedule was quite jammed so I 
did not linger. I conveyed personal greetings from President Vargas 
and reported that the attitude of our southern neighbors was for the 
most part friendly, although I did note some Axis influence. 

I was back in tl}e Capital in three weeks for the spring Gridiron 
dinner. I called upon Hull and found him smarting over the appoint- 
ment of John G. Winant as Ambassador to Great Britain. 


Pearl Harbor 341 

"I attribute the appointment to those I call the social welfare group," 
Hull said. "I'm sure Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter was instru- 
mental in bringing the appointment about. I had recommended former 
Governor James M. Cox of Ohio." 

"Roosevelt's lack of frankness is one thing that always disturbed 
me," I said. "It was serious enough before, but it is most grave now 
with the country in danger of war. I can only hope that he will not 
attempt to make any alliance with Britain without taking those in his 
official family and Congressional leaders into his confidence. Other- 
wise, I am sure strong feeling will be generated against him around 
the country/' 

"I agree with you completely," Hull said. "I don't see the President 
very often. Most of the details of the department are handled through 
Sumner Welles. Sometime in the future I'm going to set forth the 
position I have taken down through the years. The social welfarers 
might try to discredit my story, but I will tell it," 

On April 25, 1941, 1 dictated a memorandum, based on my observa- 
tions and conversations with various leaders. I wrote: 

It is apparent to me that for some weeks at least, we have been drifting 
for lack of leadership on the President's part, and it is evident that because 
of promises made during the campaign he is unwilling to explain to the 
country just what our position is in the situation abroad/If he did, he would 
probably have to wind up by saying that he thinks the best thing to do is 
to move into war now. If he does that, he will be going back on his prom- 
ises, and knowing him as I do, I am sure it is all very annoying to him. 

I think the President has been very backward in not taking a more 
definite stand on the important issues of labor; he hates to make definite 
decisions, and he tries by devious means to go around them. At other times 
he is very courageous, but in this particular situation he certainly has not 
been giving the kind of leadership the country needs. 

If he continues to go along this way and not definitely give some type 
of leadership, a bad situation can very well develop in this country. 
Wheeler, Nye, and Lindbergh are making speeches and apparently draw- 
ing great crowds, particularly in the Middle West. There is no doubt that 
the people in the East and in the large industrial centers have made up their 
minds to get into the war, and get it over. That is not true of the man in 
the street, particularly in the Middle West nor the mothers and fathers 
of sons, recalling full well what happened during and after the last war. 

34 2 Jim Farley's story 

I imagine this is giving the President great concern but the thing is, I think, 
he made definite promises in his campaign, and now he is faced with the 
possibility of going back on them. It was said he would do that and I am 
sure that it will be called to his attention on the floor of the Senate. 

I have not been in Washington much only once or twice for a day 
but in my talks with people who are in Washington, I find they seem to 
think we are headed for war, whether or not the people outside know it, 
and there is grave doubt in their minds as to whether or not we are pre- 
pared for it. 

The trouble in this whole situation is that we delayed six months in 
getting the defense program under way because of the President's desire 
to get the third term. When I came back from Europe in 1939, I asked 
for an opportunity to set up the defense program and get industry or- 
ganized. The President promised me he would do that but he never dis- 
cussed any part of it with me. If he had started out then, with a defense 
committee, or with someone, and permitted them to organize industry in 
this country, we would have been six months ahead or further in our pro- 
gram anyway. He did nothing about it and the reason was that he was 
fearful that the people would ask an explanation as to his plans on the third 
term and how then could he expect cooperation? Of course, his actions 
in connection with the 1940 convention will be one of the things to al- 
ways come back to plague any understanding I could possibly have. It is 
all right to say he did not know what he was going to do, but there is no 
doubt in my mind he knew what he was going to do. He certainly should 
have told me on Feb. i, that he had changed his mind. He sent Ickes to 
California to stop Garner. He wanted it to appear that the convention 
drafted him. That in itself is significant. If he proceeded with the program 
in 1939 ... we could tell Germany where they could head in and tell 
them so freely and frankly, and we could back up our demands with real, 
and evident defense not just holding a cap pistol. That is our problem 
today and the reason we are in this situation is because of the President. 

I was back in Washington May 10, 1941, when I had a visit with 
Senator Truman, who discussed his investigation of army camps. He 
attributed extravagance on camp sites to improper procurement or- 
ganization in the Army. He said his investigation would bring out the 
weak points in the army set-up and prevent a recurrence of the ex- 

I spent a half hour with Hull and found him exercised over the ac- 
tivities of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., on the freezing of German funds 
and other problems relating to the Nazis. Hull told me he had to call 

Pearl Harbor 343 

up .Henry and tell him to keep his hands out of the State Department. 
Hull also disclosed that he seldom saw the President, but talked fre- 
quently with him over the phone. Under Secretary of State Welles, 
however, was seeing Roosevelt daily, he added. 

On July 2, 1941, I visited* John N. Garner in his home at Uvalde, 
Texas, along with Postmaster Burris Jackson of Hillsboro, Texas. I 
never saw the former Vice President in a better frame of mind or in 
finer health. When I remarked that he appeared to be extremely happy 
in his retirement, he said, "I ain't mad at anyone." 

"I think Roosevelt will be a candidate for a fourth term," Garner 
continued. "There is no other way you can explain his actions. I think 
he will get us into the war by the back door rather than going through 
Congress. I'm concerned about the future of the country and the 
huge debt which is being piled up." 

Garner said he last saw the President on January 20, 1941, the day 
of the third term inaugural, when he bade him good-by, saying, "Boss, 
there is nothing you can give me that I would ever accept, but if you 
think I can be of service to the country, I want you to call me." Garner 
said he knew very well that Roosevelt would never call upon him. I 
told him of the ignoring of my off er to serve on my return from Eu- 
rope in the fall of 1939. 

"You know, Jim, I'm entirely out of politics now, but if you ever 
become interested in the Presidency, I will get back in and pitch in 
for you," he said. 

"Jack," I said, "I'm not interested in any office, including the Presi- 
dency. Some people are trying to interest me in running for Mayor 
of New York City or the Governorship of New York State, but I'm 
mainly concerned with providing for my family." 

Back in New York five days later, Ed Flynn and I had lunch. 

"Will you run for Mayor?" he asked. 

"Ed, I would not run for Mayor if I could have the post without 
going through a campaign," was my reply. 

Throughout the year I was busy fitting myself into my new post. 
My family was most happy and I found I was not missing public life 
nearly so much as I thought I would. I was finding retirement most 

344 Ji m Farley's story 

Suddenly, like many another American, I was jolted out of com- 
placency by the grim stroke of Pearl Harbor. I wanted to serve as best 
I could, so I sat down the morning of December 9, 1941, and wrote the 

President as follows: 


Just a brief note to express the hope that your strength and energy may 
continue to fortify your efforts to keep our country triumphant over ag- 
gression. The righteousness of our cause should be a consolation to you in 
these days of heavy burdens. 

If at any time I can be of service I know you will feel free to command 

Faithfully yours, 

I received a brief, but pleasant reply from the White House under 
date of December 10, 1941, which read: 


Thanks ever so much for your nice note. 

I knew I could count on you. 

As ever yours, 

No summons to serve came in the months and years that followed. 
Friends told me there was some discussion about putting me into "a 
place with a double-edged sword" one which might cut me while I 
was wielding it for the administration but nothing came of it. 

Secretary of Labor Perkins recommended me for Chairman of the 
National War Labor Board, but it was thought by some persons that 
the job should go to William H. Davis because of his long service on 
the National Defense Mediation Board, which was perfectly all right 
with me. Frances also had a plan to establish a board of arbitrators 
to act, if the War Labor Board failed. The arbitrators were to be 
such persons as Charles Evans Hughes, Wendell Willkie, William 
Mitchell, Judge Florence Allen, Judge Learned Hand, myself, and 
possibly others. This idea was abandoned, she said, because the persons 
being considered as arbitrators so overshadowed the WLB that it was 
felt the board would suffer. 

In the late summer of 1941, Secretary of Treasury Morgenthau 

Pearl Harbor 345 

wanted me to take on the chairmanship in New York State for the 
bond drive, but I had just completed four to five months of continuous 
activity as chairman of the 1941 Greater New York Fund Drive, and 
I told Henry it would be impossible for me to accept this responsibility 
at that time, and asked to be excused. I said I would be very happy to 
help him on it later. I recommended that Richard C Patterson, Jr., be 
invited to assume the chairmanship; he accepted and did an excellent 

That was the only time I was ever asked to assist in any of the gov- 
ernment's programs which directly or indirectly related to the war ef- 
fort, or to the emergency created by the war, in spite of having of- 
fered my services to the President immediately following the attack on 
Pearl Harbor. 

On January 9, 1942, I was in Washington again and during a visit 
to Capitol Hill I had a brief chat with Vice President Wallace, who 
asked me if I was interested in coming into the war picture. I replied 
that, like all Americans, I was interested in serving my country, but 
I did not want a job just for the sake of a job. I told him I needed no 
honors that sort of thing was behind me but if my ability was 
needed, I would take some post that would bring out what qualities I 
possessed. He said he had been thinking of me, Joseph P. Kennedy, 
and several others. I don't know how the others fared, but Kennedy 
and I were left alone. Wallace appeared tired and worn, although he 
said he felt all right. 

That afternoon I had a most interesting conversation with Qorjiell 
Hull, who brought me up to date on the war situation. Hull said: 

"Jim, I want you to know and I hope some day the country will 
know, I purposely prolonged the conversations with the Japanese be- 
yond the point where I felt it would do any good in order to enable 
the Army and the Navy to get men and supplies to the Far East. When 
the war party took control of the Japanese government in October, it 
was evident there was no hope for peace. 

"In November at a meeting in the White House I told Stimson and 
Knox and their ranking officers what the President or I or the State 
Department could do with the Japanese situation. I warned them, Jim, 
that in view of the past conduct of the Japanese the Army and 

346 Jim Farley's story 

Navy should be prepared for an attack by the Japanese at any point 
or at many points, all at the same time, as the Japs might seek to have 
us deploy our forces over a considerable area. 

"The situation in Singapore and other sections of the Far East is none 
too good. I am doing everything I can through Admiral William D. 
Leahy to keep Marshal Petain on his feet and to preserve a friendly re- 
lationship with the Vichy government. I'm doing this at the request 
of the British. I must confess I don't feel too friendly toward them 
for a number of reasons. One is the interference of some Britishers with 
our efforts in connection with the seizure of the islands of St. Pierre 
and Miquelon off the Newfoundland coast by Free French forces." 

"How do you look at the future?" I asked. 

"I am confident of victory, but we are in for a lot of bad days, bad 
nights, and bad news before we get there," he said. 

"Did you see much of Churchill?" I asked. 

"Very little," he replied. 

I did not press this line of questioning because I knew he felt he was 
being by-passed by the President. 

I could not see the President because he was in Hyde Park, the visit 
being shrouded in wartime secrecy. I asked Steve Early to extend my 
regards. Frances Perkins told me she thought the President was worn 
out by Winston Churchill's visit. The Prime Minister not only kept 
late hours but, whenever he finished what he was doing, he invariably 
headed for the President's study or office, so that Roosevelt did not 
have much time to himself during Churchill's stay, 

About this time Wendell Willkie, the third Republican standard- 
bearer defeated by Roosevelt, came to see me seeking to enlist my 
support for a scheme to effect bipartisan agreement for renomination 
and reelection of Senators and Congressmen supporting the President's 
foreign policy. I told him I was against any such agreement; that the 
decision should be left to the voters concerned, and that neither he, 
the President, nor anyone else could successfully carry out such an 
agreement. As he left, I was convinced that he was still working for 
the Presidency. 



I NOW COME to the story of the most important political fight I was 
ever engaged in, not excepting the third term. I refer to the New 
York State Democratic convention at Brooklyn in the summer 
of 1942, which I consider one of the greatest demonstrations of democ- 
racy and loyalty ever seen in this country. 

In the convention in Chicago in 1940, 1 took a stand on the principle 
of the third term. I did not attempt an all-out fight in that convention 
because it would have been foolhardy, inasmuch as over nine hundred 
delegates had been committed to President Roosevelt. But, in the 
Brooklyn convention two years later, a different situation existed. 

As chairman of the Democratic state committee, I was supporting 
Attorney General John J. Bennett for the nomination for Governor, 
with the backing of most of the upstate county organizations and the 
Brooklyn (Kings County) and Queens County organizations. Arrayed 
against me was the most powerful group of political leaders that ever 
faced anyone: the President, at the height of his wartime popularity; 
Governor Lehman, who was completing his tenth year in Albany; 
Senators Wagner and Mead; Ed Flynn, head of the powerful Bronx 
County organization, who had succeeded me as Chairman of the- 
Democratic National Committee and was the National Committee- 
man from New York State; the O'Connell machine of Albany; the 
Utica machine; a portion of the Syracuse organization and most of 
the Erie County organization; and Michael J. Kennedy, the leader of 
Tammany Hall. 

I have always been of the opinion that if Mike Kennedy had seen 
the light and had not gone along with President Roosevelt in his efforts 
to defeat Bennett for the nomination, Bennett would have been 
nominated unanimously and subsequently elected. 

Even before Pearl Harbor it was known that Governor Lehman 
would not be a candidate. It was widely accepted that his successor 


348 Jim Farley's story 

would be Bennett. New York Democrats were becoming a bit fed up 
with having someone at Albany from whom they could not receive 
consideration. Bennett had always been a strong party man and was 
widely favored by Democratic leaders, particularly those upstate. 
It was regarded as a foregone conclusion that the nomination would 
go to Bennett. He had sought my support and, as state chairman, I 
gave my word to him, feeling he had earned the nomination. Bennett 
had stepped aside in 1936 and 1938 at the request of the party's leaders, 
when the rank and file wanted him. Bennett ran ahead of Lehman in 
' 1938, when Lehman headed the ticket, and Bennett was elected At- 
torney General. 

There wasn't the slightest ripple on the New York political horizon 
until April, 1942, when, out of a clear sky, Roosevelt told Wendell 
Willkie that his candidate for Governor was Owen D. Young, the in- 
dustrialist. The President said Lehman would be made a brigadier gen- 
eral, probably in the Quartermaster Corps; and Lieutenant Governor 
Charles Poletti would get a chance to show himself as Governor until 
the election. Roosevelt asked Willkie who the Republican candidate 
would be. Willkie said without any doubt it would be Thomas E. 
Dewey. The name of Bennett was mentioned, and Harry Hopkins, 
who was present, said that Roosevelt made a bad selection in Bennett 
for Attorney General. Roosevelt said that was not so, that there was 
nothing wrong with Bennett's record as Attorney General, 

When this story was brought to me, I dismissed it, being aware that 
all Bennett would have to do would be to announce his candidacy, and 
Young would not get into the race. Bennett went ahead getting pledges 
from various leaders and prepared to fight for his nomination, if neces- 
sary, although he did not expect to be thrust into a battle. 

Poletti came to me and expressed a desire to run. When I explained 
why I felt Bennett was entitled to the nomination, he said that under 
the circumstances there was no sense in his making a bid. I advised him 
to content himself with the prospect, which appeared to be his, of 
being governor for a few months on Lehman's resignation for Wash- 
ington service. Our talk was entirely pleasant and affable. 

On June i, I received a telephone call from White House secretary 
Mclntyre asking whether it was likely I would be in Washington in 

Brooklyn convention 349 

the near future. I said I had no plans for an early visit. He then said 
the President would like to talk to me about the New York situation, 
so I made an appointment to see him June 6. 

Before going to the White House, I stopped in the State Department 
with Eddie Roddan and we paid a call on Cordell Hull. As I went in 
I decided to twit him about the controversy he had had with Wallace 
over an executive order by which Wallace had snatched some State 
and Commerce Department functions for his Bureau of Economic 
Warfare. Hull was successful in balking the raid by a second counter- 
manding presidential order. 

"Cordell, how did you manage it; did you use a gun or a knife?" I 

"Hell, no, Jim," he replied, "I used old fashioned methods. I gave 
him plenty of rope." 

Hull went on to say that the President, in Hull's presence, had told 
Wallace that he would not have signed the original order had he 
known the State and Commerce Departments were opposed to the 
transfer, and Wallace said he had not asked the approval of the two 
departments because he knew he would not get it. 

Hull said the speeches of Under Secretary Welles about saving the 
world were entirely impractical. It was clear, he said, we could not 
police the world and take care of its peoples. 

In the course of our talk I noted pictures of Andrew Jackson and 
Abraham Lincoln on the walls of his office and could not refrain from 

"I'm happy to see Jackson and Lincoln in your office, and I know 
you won't misunderstand me when I tell you what I have told many 
people, that I regret you are not President of the United States. I sin- 
cerely believe that you possess, in a greater degree than any man in 
the nation, the courage of Jackson and the humility of Lincoln. With 
such attributes, you could not help but be a great Chief Magistrate." 

He was much touched, saying my remarks were a great compliment, 
that he knew how I felt toward him and that he appreciated my friend- 
ship to as great a degree as that of any man he had ever come into con- 
tact with in public life. 

Hull then told a most interesting story about Russia. He said that 

350 Jim Farley's story 

in January, 1941, he had sent word to the Soviet Ambassador that this 
government had received most reliable information that Germany was 
likely to attack Russia. On receiving the information, Russian Foreign 
Minister Molotov made a speech attacking Hull for attempting to 
churn up trouble between Russia and Germany. 

On Molotov's first visit to Washington, after the attack, he sought 
out Hull and said, "For my own information, after this war is over, I 
should like to have you tell me when and how your government first 
realized that Germany was going to invade Russia." Molotov told 
Hull that the Soviet government did not entertain the possibility of at- 
tack until sometime in May. Hull however, was of the opinion that 
the Russians did not know about it until June, 1941, just before the 

At the White House I chatted briefly with Mrs. Roosevelt and then 
was ushered into the President's study. I had not seen him for fourteen 
months and found evidences of the strain he was working under. His 
eyes had heavy circles under them and his face was chalky. He was 
more nervous than I had ever seen him. He was continuously reaching 
for things on his desk and toying with them. He coughed frequently. 
Robert Brennan, Eire's Minister, had an appointment just before me. 
When I came in, Roosevelt began talking about Ireland almost from 
our handshake. 

"You and I know," he said, "the kind of fellow De Valera is; he's 
not sufficiently practical; he is in the clouds most of the time and 
doesn't have his feet on the ground." 

"Mr. President, we've discussed this before and you know I hold 
Eamon De Valera in high regard," I said. 

He went into a lengthy discussion of Congress, holding that its 
members were in bad with the country. 

"I don't know that Congress is entirely to blame," I said. "When 
they go along with the administration, they are praised by some peo- 
ple and severely criticized by others as being a 'rubber stamp' Con- 
gress. And when they refuse to go along with the administration, they 
are accused of being un-American and otherwise abused." 

He nodded, but made no further comment. It was not until we had 

Brooklyn convention 351 

gone on for fifteen or twenty minutes that he approached the cause 
of our conference. Then he said: 

"Of course, you know I have a great deal of regard for Jack Ben- 
nett, but I am wondering if he can be elected and if the American Labor 
Party would support him. I have some doubts about his standing 
among certain elements of the party." 

" Whatever doubts you may have must come from those who don't 
want Bennett and are using any argument against him that comes to 
hand," I said. "If he is nominated and receives your blessing, there 
will be no question of his election." 

"You know I always liked Jack, and you will recall the story of 
how we put over his original nomination for Attorney General against 
McCooey's opposition (Tammany leader John H. McCooey ) . I think 
you ought to get that story out to help John." 

I took the fact that he wanted the story known as evidence he would 
accept Bennett. 

The President told me to give the complete story to James A. Hag- 
erty, Sr., veteran political reporter of the Ne<w York Times, who al- 
ready knew the story. The President said he wanted it published only 
in the Times. (Hagerty did write the story as I suggested, in a full 
column in the Monday morning paper, following my visit to the White 
House. I wrote the President a letter and sent him a copy of the story, 
as promised, but he failed to acknowledge it.) 

"Now, Mr. President, I never lied to you or misinformed you, dur- 
ing the long years I was associated with you/' I said. "I have only one 
thought in mind and that is the success of the Democratic ticket. I 
feel that we can gain victory more easily this year by nominating 
Bennett than we could with anyone else. The Democratic leaders want 
him. He could have been nominated in 1936, but we drafted Lehman; 
and he could have been nominated in 1938, but again we drafted 
Lehman. Mr. President, all the Roosevelts and Parleys combined, 
with all the influence they are supposed to possess, could not stop 
Bennett's nomination for Governor in the coming convention, unless 
I decided to become a candidate against Bennett, which I haven*t the 
slightest intention of doing." 

352 Jim Farley's story 

"Of course, Senator Mead is needed here more than in Albany, 
because of his support of the administration," he said thoughtfully. 

"That is true, Mr. President," I agreed. "Mead has strength where 
he is, but his vote on pensions for Congressmen has lost him support." 

"While union labor is for Mead," Roosevelt said, as though con- 
tinuing his train of thought, "there is a feeling among other laboring 
people against him, which might be harmful." 

There was no mention of Owen D. Young or Assistant Secretary 
of War Patterson in our conversation. I suggested that Roosevelt 
could help the situation if he would bring Lehman down to Wash- 
ington and let Poletti serve as Governor to the end of the year. 

"I know," he said. "Poletti was in to see me, asking I do that. He 
feels he could get the nomination if he were Governor. I told Poletti 
I did not think he could get the nomination and that Lehman told 
me he didn't think Poletti could get it. I also told Charley I just can't 
bring Lehman to Washington at this time. As Governor of New 
York, Lehman is entitled to a decent place, but I must be careful 
because of the criticism that there are too many Jews in the adminis- 


I made no comment on that, feeling that Lehman would be taken 
care of probably shortly after -the convention. I suggested Nathan 
Straus, Laurence Steinhardt, or Charles H. Silver for Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor. He shook his head, saying Straus found it difficult to get along 
with people, and adding that he had trouble keeping him straight with 
Congress. He declared Steinhardt might be all right because of his 
record as a diplomat. He said he did not know Silver, and I said he 
was a fine fellow who would help the ticket immeasurably. 

In my discussion with the President we both agreed that Joseph 
O'Leary should be nominated for state comptroller, and in the event 
Charles Poletti accepted the nomination for Lieutenant Governor, 
that Henry Epstein should be nominated for Attorney General. We 
also discussed names of several women for nomination as Congressman- 
at-large for the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mrs. Caroline 
O'Day. We had a very definite understanding on the whole state 

I told him that I had only one desire, and that was to see the Demo- 

Brooklyn convention 353 

cratic party successful in New York State, and that if he changed his 
mind in any way, I would appreciate it if he would telephone me 
and I would see him in Washington or in Hyde Park, publicly or 
privately, any way he desired, for a further discussion of the situa- 
tion. He assured me he would surely communicate with me per- 
sonally if he changed his mind in any way regarding our very definite 

I did not hear from him directly or indirectly after that conversa- 
tion and he made no effort to get in touch with me personally. 

Before I left he said he had been glad to see me and chided me for 
not coming in to see him before. I told him I had tried, but had found 
him out of town. He inquired about Bess and the children. We parted 
most cordially. 

Through June and July the New Dealers chipped away at Bennett 
delegates without appreciable result. On July 27, former Vice Presi- 
dent Garner told me by phone that the fight I was engaged in was 
the most important of my career and wished me well. Two days later, 
at Bennett's suggestion, I called on Al Smith to enlist his support. 

"Jimmy," he said, "I don't want to come out now, because some 
people are still sore at me on account of my attitude in 1936 and 1940. 
Anything I might do for Bennett might be more harmful than help- 
ful. I hate to come out for anything because of the flood of letters 
which follows any public statement or commitment I make most of 
them from fellows wanting jobs. Fm sick and tired of them." 

I gave him a complete picture of the situation, expressing con- 
fidence we could hold our lines. If I found any weakness in our lines, 
I told him, I would be the first to offer to compromise, 

" Jimmy, this isn't a fight against Jack Bennett, but Roosevelt's be- 
ginning of a fight for a fourth term for himself," Al said. "And he 
dught to be devoting all his energies .to the conduct of the war, as 
people feel; instead he's worrying about control of the New York dele- 
gation in 1944." 

On August 10, 1942, Roosevelt summoned Frank Kelly, Brook- 
lyn leader, to the White House for a talk on the New York gu- 
bernatorial situation. The President did not say he would be for 
Bennett, but he did not say he would be against him, He did say he 

354 J Farley's story 

would make no speeches for any of the nominees and talked of 
Owen D. Young and General William N. Haskell. 

Four days later Ed Flynn called Kelly and read a statement he 
had from the President in which Roosevelt said he would not make 
any speeches for Bennett and would not make any effort to get the 
endorsement of the American Labor Party for Bennett. The state- 
ment said that Roosevelt had so informed me during our conversa- 
tion which just wasn't so. 

"You know," Kelly told me in repeating his conversation with 
Roosevelt and with Flynn, "I don't think all the trouble is in Wash- 

"I don't follow you, Frank," I said. 

"Well, I think a great deal of the difficulty is in the Bronx," he 
explained. "I think Flynn is more determined to nominate Mead than 
Roosevelt is." 

"I can't see why he should be," I said. 

On August 1 8, the day before the convention opened, the cus- 
tomary dinner conference of state Democratic leaders was held at 
the Biltmore Hotel. It was an extremely warm evening but grew 
hotter as I called on the various leaders. Kelly presented Bennett's 
name. Flynn offered Mead's. James Roe, Queens leader, supported 
Bennett. And Lehman declared for Mead. Most of the leaders spoke 
for Bennett. During the debate, I saw Lehman and Senator Wagner 
passing around a letter, but paid no attention to it until Lehman arose 
and announced he had a letter from the President. This stated Roose- 
velt was much disturbed over newspaper stories which made it ap- 
pear there was a contest between Roosevelt and Farley. He said that 
while he had nothing against Bennett personally, he thought Mead 
would make a stronger candidate. 

It was evident this was the last card of the Mead supporters. I 
went around the table asking the leaders who had declared for Bennett 
whether they had changed their views. Everyone was more emphatic 
in voicing support of Bennett. Roosevelt's letter had backfired. When 
the Mead forces refused to admit we had the votes to nominate 
Bennett, I said there was nothing to do but go to a roll call. 

Brooklyn convention 355 

This was the first time since 1918, to my knowledge, where any 
minority group of leaders participating in a conference of New York 
State Democratic leaders failed to support the choice of the majority 
of the conference, and which was borne out by the vote Bennett 
received on the roll call. Smith, Roosevelt, and Lehman were selected 
for the nomination of governor in conferences similar to this, as were 
Copeland, Wagner, and Mead for the Senate, and all other Democratic 
nominees for state offices, including the state Court of Appeals. 

An hour later Lehman phoned to accuse me of giving out the Presi- 
dent's letter, which he had said was confidential. I cautioned him to 
keep his head and his temper, asserting that I had not made the letter 
public and reminding him that it was impossible to keep secret a let- 
ter read to twenty-five people. He made no further reference to it. 

The Bennett forces, having the votes, could have railroaded the 
convention, but had no wish to do so. We agreed to let the nomina- 
tions and roll call go over until Thursday, at the request of Frank 
Kelly. Wednesday morning a brief organizational meeting was held. 
That night at nine-thirty, Kelly called me, saying he would be right 
over and asking that Bennett be present. 

a jim, I had a call from Lehman," Kelly began in a strained voice 
which clearly showed the pressure he was laboring under. "He says 
that if Jack Bennett is nominated, he will not campaign for him and 
will not support him. When he told me that, and you know how 
highly I regard him, I began wondering whether I should withdraw 
my support and look for a compromise candidate. He'll have to be 
an Irish Catholic from Brooklyn." 

This was a severe jolt. Kelly said he did not think there was a 
chance for Bennett to win if Lehman walked ont. At this time Bennett 
and Vincent Dailey, my assistant, came in. Kelly said he would be 
glad to nominate Bennett for the Supreme Court, which Bennett re- 
fused. I asked Kelly if he had given serious thought to any other 


"I would take you, but I know you don't want it," he said. 

"As far as I'm concerned, the nomination is out," I said. "I have 
no candidate but Bennett, and I will never desert him. AU that I have 

356 Jim Farley's story 

ever had is my word and I have given it to Bennett. The people in 
and out of the party in this state and all over the country know I think 
Bennett is the best man." 

I felt extremely sorry for Kelly because I realized he was abso- 
lutely sincere and that he wanted to do what he considered was the 
right thing for the organization. I told him that if there was a runout 
on Bennett now, there would be a hopeless split and the party would 
be doomed to certain defeat. As it was, I said, the party was suffer- 
ing through the interference of the Mead crowd. I reminded him 
Mead had declared himself out of the race several times. 

"Now, Frank, you know how I feel about Bennett and I want him 
to know it/ 7 I concluded. "I am going to keep my word and go 
through with Bennett. I did not intend to make a speech, but it 
seems I will have to do it to nominate Jack." 

We parted with the understanding Kelly would call me in the 
morning. The next few hours were among the most uncomfortable 
in my life. I could see a situation which would obviously wreck the 
party and, as state chairman, I was vitally interested in the party's 

I was at breakfast when Kelly called at eight o'clock the next 
morning and asked me to come over to the Montauk Club in Brook- 
lyn, where I found him with Judges John B. Johnston and William 
B. Carswell. I am an emotional fellow, as was Kelly. We both had 
difficulty in controlling our feelings during the tense conference. 

"Frank, I have given considerable thought to the situation through 
the night," I began. "I have turned it over this morning. I want you 
to know before you say anything that I have not changed my opinion. 
I am convinced that Bennett can be and should be nominated. And 
I am going to place his name in nomination. When I do so, I will 
have to tell the reason for your leaving him. If I tell the story of 
Lehman's telephone call to the convention, and I will have to do so 
in justice to Bennett, the party, and myself, the effect will not be 

"Jim, I want to live in Brooklyn the rest of my life," Kelly re- 
sponded. "I want to do what I think is best for the Brooklyn or- 
ganization. I do not want to destroy it or myself. If I go through for 

Brooklyn convention 357 

Bennett, I believe sincerely that I will be through politically. I say 
Bennett can't win with all these elements against him; but, Jim, I 
have telephoned Lehman. I told him when he says he can't support 
Bennett, that is his decision, but that I am staying with Bennett. Jim, 
I am willing to go to the end with you, and I will do it." 

I grasped his hand and congratulated him on his courage, saying 
that in the days ahead he would never have reason to regret his 
stand, regardless of the outcome of the election. Many times before 
his death, he told me that if he had it all to do over again, he would 
do exactly what he did. 

In the convention hall, just before the ballot, Lehman came to 
me with the plea that we recess, for a conference. I took him aside, 
back of the press stand and gave him a brief but forceful talking 
to. I told him that he of all men had no right to appeal to me on the 
, basis of party loyalty. I said he should feel grateful to Bennett and 
other party leaders, including myself. Finally, I said we had debated 
and conferred long enough; that it was evident that the majority of 
the delegates wanted Bennett; and that if the President, the Senators, 
he, the Governor, and the rest did not want to abide by the will of 
the conference and the convention, they would bring disaster on 
the party. 

The rest is history. Flynn and Lehman asked to have the Brooklyn 
delegation polled. The atmosphere was charged with excitement as 
voice after voice with one exception answered, "John J. Bennett." 
It was evident on completion of the polling of this delegation that all 
was up with the Mead forces. The final vote was 623 votes for Bennett, 
which was almost on the head of the prediction of 620* 

We did not make a single commitment. We had nothing to offer 
except a candidate in whom the leaders and delegates believed. 
Further, they resented the outside interference and the threat that, 
if Mead were not nominated, the party's nominee would not re- 
ceive support. Also they resented the shotgun wedding with the 
American Labor Party, which they felt was being forced by the in- 
sistence that the convention should take Mead to get ALP support. 

Again Roosevelt had violated the cardinal political tenet of non- 
intervention in local matters. Again he had stepped from the lofty 

358 Jim Farley's story 

national scene to exchange blows in a regional clash. Again he met 
with a humiliating defeat. And again he did not profit by the lesson. 

Even though the contest was in his own state, he should not have 
interfered, particularly in time of war. As in the case of the unsuc- 
cessful purge, he did not do what party regularity demanded sup- 
port the candidate of the convention at once. Instead he sulked, as 
he had after the purge defeats, and withheld prompt support from 
Bennett. The result was that the Democrats lost New York State, 
not only that fall, but again in 1946. 

The evils which have beset the party in New York, like those which 
plagued the party nationally, may be traced to violation of the rules 
of regularity. After the 1940 convention, in which I was a partici- 
pant, I bowed to the will of the party and supported the third term, 
even though I had no sympathy with the precedent breaking and 
was certain that it would be harmful in the long run, not only because 
it was shattering American tradition but also because it was denying 
other men within the party their chance to come to the top. 

If this book has no other lesson, I hope that its readers will heed 
the admonition of a practical politician that parties must provide op- 
portunities for faithful workers to advance, and that ks members 
rank and file must follow the rules of the game. Party platforms 
and principles may change, but growth and order must not, or the 
party will wither and die as so many have. 

In the final days of the campaign, at the instance of Ed Flynn, the 
President sent a wire to Bennett in which he declared that the sug- 
gestion that "my support of you is formal and lukewarm is an un- 
truth." This came too late; his tardiness cost us the election. Bennett 
stood up smilingly under overwhelming defeat. The one bright light 
in the gloomy election evening was his sportsmanlike manner and 
gentlemanly bearing. 



FROM THE beginning of 1943, only one topic approached the war 
in general interest and that was the fourth term, which every- 
one was certain Roosevelt wanted. It was evident that the Presi- 
dent could and would get the nomination unless a number of Demo- 
cratic leaders formed a coalition to stop him by capturing the 
delegations of their respective states. Such a confederation is most 
difficult to organize and harder to hold together, because of the in- 
evitable conflict of personalities and ambitions. In this instance, it 
was never launched. 

On February 3, 1943, I paid a visit to Garner at Uvalde, Texas, 
on my way home from a Mexican business trip. The former Vice 
President was much disturbed over the fourth term. 

"Jim, I think it would be a terrible thing to have Roosevelt elected 
again," he said. "It would not be fair to the country or to him. He 
cannot last forever, and from what I hear he is losing ground. The 
possibility of having Wallace as President is repulsive to me." 

"As long as you have brought it up, Jack, I must tell you that I am 
told the strain is telling on him," I said. "After all, he will have had 
twelve years in Washington on top of four in Albany. And years 
will take their toll. I think those about him are being most selfish and 
highly unfair to him, in persuading him to run." 

"That's what I hear and it has me worried," Garner continued. 
"Anything can happen to the country in a situation like that, espe- 
cially if Wallace succeeds. Why, we might have a revolution!" 

"I'm afraid not only for the country but for the world," I added. 
"Not only is it important that the maker of decisions on the con- 
duct of the war be fresh and vigorous, but the next term will bring 
the peace making, and it is vital that these negotiations be in strong 

Hull echoed Garner's fears over Wallace's possible succession, when 


360 Jim Farley's story 

I saw him in Washington a few days later. He -was smoldering over 
criticism from "so-called liberals," because of his dealings with the 
Vichy government which, he said, had made it possible to land sol- 
diers in Africa with a minimum loss of life. "If the liberals have any 
criticism to make," he snorted, "they should direct it at Churchill and 

At Washington that May I had dinner with the Secretary and Mrs. 
Hull. I found him looking hearty. I reminded him of the early days 
of the administration, when his warning of the menace of Japan, 
Germany, and Italy were boring to the majority of his Cabinet col- 
leagues. I noted that events had proved him right and asked what he 
believed should be done to the three nations when they were con- 

"I told the President and Churchill," Hull said, "that what should 
be done is to have Hitler and his co-conspirators, Mussolini and his 
followers, and Hirohito and his group liquidated promptly by the 
allies. This will teach a lesson to those that follow them." 

On May 30, 1944, Lord Beaverbrook, whom I found as interest- 
ing as he was frank, asked me point-blank, "Why did Roosevelt pick 
Wallace for Vice President?" 

"Because there was less chance of Wallace developing into a presi- 
dential candidate than anyone else," was my reply. 

"That's not unusual," he laughed, "Winston does that too." Then 
he added that he had seen Henry in action and found him imprac- 
tical. He followed this with an amusing story of how Roosevelt and 
Churchill worked. 

"I spent three days with them, you know," he said. "Whenever 
Churchill bore down too hard on what he wanted done, Roosevelt 
would turn to his stamp books and start thumbing through them. 
That would stop Winston short. Maybe he'd stalk out of the room 
or maybe he would bring up some subject that had no relation to what 
they were working on. Roosevelt would then laugh and forget his irri- 
tation. Winston is always bearing down to get over something he 
wants done." 

Beaverbrook said Roosevelt was one of the most charming men 
he had ever met. I agreed, adding I was sorry I had never met Church- 

Fourth term 361 

ill, and that in 1939 Roosevelt told me he was the one man in England 
I should meet. I have since met the dynamic statesman and found him 
tremendously interesting. 

June 24th found me back at Hull's desk. He did not look on the 
situation favorably, saying, "I feel somewhat like Pliny, when he ex- 
claimed at the eruption of Vesuvius, 'I saw and was a part of all this.' 
And there are times I wish I wasn't part of it all. Down through the 
years I have worked for reciprocal trade agreements, the good neigh- 
bor policy, branding aggressors, and all the rest. I get discouraged at 
neglect but am determined to sit it out." 

When I next saw him on August 16, he was in a better mood. He 
was busy on a postwar program which would bring not only Re- 
publicans and Democrats in Congress to the conference tables, but 
also men of the caliber of Charles Evans Hughes and John W. Davis. 
He said the British had no postwar program, but had been fiddling 
around the State Department trying to find out if we had one, and 
added, "I have kept it from them." 

In November, Hull went to Moscow to establish accord among the 
allies, particularly between the United States and Russia. On Decem- 
ber 9, 1943, at an interesting evening in his apartment he told me the 
story of his trip. He was in an excellent frame of mind, pleased over 
the success of his mission. 

"You know, Jim, that there were stories in the papers from time 
to time that other persons were going to undertake the mission," he 
began. "I made up my mind that I would go. So I went across the 
street and told a certain person I was going to make the trip as this 
country's representative. He said, 'Grand! ' and told me how delighted 
he was." 

I did not say so, but I was not so sure that the President was con- 
vinced Hull would make the trip. I had heard that almost up to Hull's 
departure he toyed with sending Sumner Welles or Joseph E. Davies. 
I asked Hull what he thought of Stalin. 

"He's a man of parts and quite practical," Hull replied. "I got along 
all right with him and other representatives of the Russian govern- 

"That's no surprise to me, because they undoubtedly have a record 

3 <5 2 Jim Farley's story 

on every public official in this country and, while they feel you are 
not in accord with Russian philosophy, they at least knew they could 
get the truth from you on anything that might be discussed." 

"It was apparent the Russians did not have too much confidence 
in the British," Hull continued. "At times I was quite embarrassed 
at the manner in which Anthony Eden and other British representa- 
tives were ignored by the Russians. Many of the things put forth by 
the British were rejected, whereas anything I put forth was accepted. 
Some of the things I handled at open conferences, and other matters, 
in private talks with Molotov and Litvinov. 

"Jim, in strict confidence, I was assured by Stalin that there will 
be no difficulty when the United States gets around to the point when 
we will need Russian bases to fight Japan. Stalin asked me not to tell 
this to Churchill. I did not, but I did tell a certain person." 

I have no intention of detailing other confidences on his mission, 
because that is Hull's story and he is writing it. He told me, and I am 
certain he was correct, that if he had not gone to Moscow, the Stalin- 
Churchill-Roosevelt meeting at Teheran would not have been pos- 

"How did you make out through the drinking of vodka toasts?" I 
asked with a smile. 

"I didn't drink any vodka; but I took red wine, and Stalin did the 
same thing," he replied. "I lost ten to twelve pounds, because the food 
was not what I am accustomed to and I couldn't get my supply of 
good milk." 

"How did you like the flying?" 

"When I stepped into the plane and was on my way, I said to my- 
self, 'Oh, what the hell!' " he laughed. "It made no difference as long 
as the mission was successful, which it was. Of course there are mat- 
ters like boundary disputes and other matters which can wait until 
the war is over. On the whole, I feel like the fellow who went in on 
a flush pot with a lone ace and drew three more." 

I impressed upon him the importance of dictating the complete 
story while it was still fresh in his mind, because of its significance for 
future generations. I cautioned him not to let too much time pass 
without getting the story down, because details are easily forgotten 

Fourth term 363 

if notes are not made immediately. I told him I had long had the prac- 
tice of dictating at length and had found my record invaluable. 
. Hull said he would. He chuckled over the fact that the "liberals," 
who had been attacking him, were now trying to outdo each other 
with praise of him. 

'The remarkable thing is that the so-called liberals do more dam- 
age to the true liberal cause than the opponents of liberalism," he 
said. "Well, Jim, it just goes to show you must have patience and 
courage to deal with situations such as I have had during the past 
few years. And if you give them enough rope, they hang them- 

From the time of his return from Teheran in December, there were 
disturbing reports about Roosevelt's health. Hundreds of persons, 
high and low, reported to me that he looked bad, his mind wan- 
dered, his hands shook, his jaw sagged, and he tired easily. Almost 
everyone who came in had some story about the President's health 
directly or indirectly from any one of various doctors who ex- 
amined him. Roosevelt looked bad in photographs and newsreels, and 
his voice lost much of its vitality over the radio. Members of the 
Cabinet, Senators, Congressmen, members of the White House staff, 
various Federal officials, and newspapermen carried a variety of re- 
ports on the President's failing health. 

On June 8, 1944, I resigned as New York State Democratic chair- 
man, a post I had held for fourteen years. The resignation ended 
thirty-five years of active service in politics. I had wanted to resign 
after the third term election in 1940, but various people talked me 
intp staying for the New York City mayoralty race, in the hope I 
might contribute to the election of a Democratic mayor. I got into 
that campaign for Wijliam O'Dwyer after La Guardia had made a 
vicious reference to Lehman. My speeches were so strong that some 
have credited them with making it impossible for La Guardia to bid 
for reelection in 1945. That may be, but they did not defeat him in 
1941. When that election was out of the way, I again wanted to 
retire. Again I was prevailed upon to remain for the 1942 guber- 
natorial campaign. I would have retired then, but the New Deal crowd 
decided they would try to force me out. I made up my mind I would 

364 Jim Farley's story 

fight them and stay, which I did. However, just before the fourth 
term convention, I decided the time had come to resign. 

I hesitated to leave a debt behind me in the state committee. In 
talking this over with friends, it was suggested that a testimonial 
dinner be tendered to me and the proceeds should go toward lifting 
the debt. James W. Gerard consented to accept the chairmanship of 
the dinner committee. The dinner, which was held July 10, was a 
financial success; $20,000 was raised; and I was able to leave the state 
committee free of debt. I shall always feel pleased about the dinner, 
not only for the nice things said by the various speakers, but because 
men from all walks of life Republicans as well as Democrats came 
to do me honor. 

I was amused when Frank Walker, whom I had favored as my 
successor as Postmaster General, wrote that he could not attend 
although I "richly deserved a tribute," just because his attendance 
prior to the Democratic convention " would without a doubt leave 
the impression that I approved your attitude which I do not." I 
thought he was taking himself too seriously, that his presence at the 
dinner would not make an impression on anyone. Secretary of Labor 
Perkins came, as did Ed Flynn and Democratic National Chairman 
Hannegan. I was grateful for Miss Perkins's statement that my con- 
tribution to the 1932 campaign "was the note of hope ... to the 
despairing people of this country," and the assertion that I "stood on 
the right side of every question that came before the Cabinet." 

On July 15, 1944, I left New York for the Chicago convention. 
I was a delegate and had made up my mind to vote against Roosevelt 
for a fourth term and to oppose Wallace for the Vice Presidency, 

I talked with Senator Byrd, who had no illusions that he could 
block the nomination or even get a substantial vote, but he was de- 
termined that objection should be voiced against the fourth term. I cast 
my vote for him. I appreciated the kindly gesture of those who cast 
their ballots for me. 

I did not roam around much during the convention. In the first 
place I did not want my visits and conversations misunderstood, and 
also I did not want anyone punished for being seen with me. Many 

Fourth term 365 

of my friends became marked men by the White House "palace 
guard" just for being seen with me and for remaining loyal to me, 
even though they were doing all that was humanly possible to aid 
the administration. Judge Edward M. Curran, who was denied a seat 
on the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia 
for years because he was known as a Farley man, is a typical example. 
Many persons came to my room; I ran into others in hotel cor- 
ridors and at the convention hall. Everywhere I found leaders and 
delegates restless but resigned to the inevitable, which, in this case, 
was the fourth term. Everywhere the President's health was a major 
topic, though it was discussed largely in whispers. In dictating my 
observations on the convention a few days after it was over, I wrote: 

As I looked at the picture from the sidelines in Chicago, and observed 
the moves made by the administration forces, the thought occurred to me 
that those people who profess such great friendship for the President were 
doing not only him, but the country, a great disservice. Anyone with a 
grain of common sense would surely realize from the appearance of the 
President that he is not a well man and there is not a chance in the world 
for him to carry on for four years more and face the problems that a Presi- 
dent will have before him; he just can't survive another presidential 


Therefore, I think those around the President are unfair to him in urg- 
ing him to run, because if they are really honest with themselves, they 
would not do so, but would urge him to step aside and let someone else 
be nominated. And even if the party lost, what of it? It might preserve his 
life, and at the same time, in my judgment, would not have detracted from 
his position in the country nor in history. As a matter of fact, I think it 
would have enhanced it. ... 

The truth of the matter is, however, that he probably wanted to remain 
in office despite what may have been said to the contrary and that desire on 
his part was made easier by those around him who thought only of them- 
selves and their desire to remain in power and bask in the sunlight, that is, 
of his reflected glory. If they were really on the level with themselves and 
him, they would have advised him to the contrary, but human nature be- 
ing what it is, I suppose that is what we must expect. 

Frankly, as one who has had a long, close, and extremely friendly asso- 
ciation with the President, I hate to see him make the race again; for as I 
sat and watched the show in Chicago, I was convinced in my own mind 

366 Jim Farley's story 

it was a terrible mistake even if he is elected. The problems which will 
follow the cessation of actual warfare will be never-ending and the period 
in which reconversion must take place will be heart-breaking. 

Vigorous leadership is necessary; and a man who is strong mentally and 
physically should be in the White House in order to direct the activities 
of those who must of necessity carry the burden, because the President 
cannot do it all himself; and unless a man is really able to exert the strength 
and vigorous leadership he did in the early days of 1933, it is likely to be 
very bad for the country. Congress will undoubtedly get out of hand. We 
may lose control of the House; and if not, it could be close, and with so 
many conservative Congressmen, he could Have trouble. Undoubtedly we 
will continue to control the Senate, but Republicans could join conserva- 
tive Democrats to oppose the President's program and he is going to be in 

Because Roosevelt's nomination was a certainty and because of his 
failing health, unusual interest was centered in the vice-presidential 
nomination. Some of the maneuvering was ludicrous, especially when 
an enormous field of candidates began jockeying for position, most of 
them convinced they had the President's blessing, and many of them 
having letters of endorsement from him. There were times, as wags 
said, when it appeared that the President's major contribution to the 
war effort was writing letters endorsing vice-presidential candidates. 

From the outset, it was apparent a determined effort would be 
made to supplant Wallace. I had no doubt that he would go, but did 
not know who the successor would be. Before I left New York, Her- 
bert Bayard Swope said he had every reason to believe James F, 
Byrnes, who was then familiarly known as Assistant President, had 
the green light. 

I talked to Byrnes once or twice at the convention, but did not 
discuss his candidacy. His friends told me that he was aggrieved by 
the President's failure to demand his selection, turning instead to Tru- 
man. Byrnes, being a brilliant and capable man, would have made a 
good Vice President or President. 

Democratic leaders told me that the President would not take 
Wallace, which was plain to me when I read the President's strange 
endorsement of the man he insisted on having as his 1940 running 
mate. If there ever was a left-handed endorsement, that was it. On 

Fourth term 367 

the other hand, if there ever was anyone entitled to Roosevelt's sup- 
port, it was Wallace, because he typified everything the New Deal 
stood for and never backed away from it, even when the President 
did. While I would not support him for Vice President or President, 
I must say that Wallace was treated shabbily. 

I never knew why Senator Barkley was not included in the list of 
men acceptable to the President, which numbered Truman, Byrnes, 
Wallace, Speaker Rayburn, and Federal Judge Sherman Minton, 
formerly United States Senator from Indiana. By all the rules of 
the game, and by virtue of his service as Senate Majority Leader, 
Barkley was entitled to consideration. I cast my ballot for him, be- 
cause I considered him well qualified in the field of candidates and, 
from a party point of view, more entitled to consideration. 

Bob Hannegan asked me to vote for Senator Truman. I told him 
that, while I was personally fond of Truman, I had promised to vote 
for Barkley. 

One of the most dramatic and least known scenes of the conven- 
tion came early one morning when Barkley learned that he had been 
by-passed by the President. In righteous anger, he was about to tear 
up the nominating speech he had prepared for Roosevelt. The late 
Max Gardner, myself, and a few others, most of us having no liking 
for the fourth term, persuaded him nevertheless that he owed it to 
the party to go through with the nomination like a good soldier. 
This he did and no one guessed the reluctance that lay behind the 
address, so well did he deliver it. 

Many experienced political observers were certain that Wallace 
had the votes and would have won, if the votes had not been taken 
away from him at the request of the President. Wallace had votes in 
New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio which 
were not recorded for him. In Illinois there were 20 or 25 votes for 
Wallace, which were held from him. Mayor Ed Kelly was driven to 
nominating Senator Scott Lucas as a favorite son in order to keep 
votes from Wallace. The galleries and delegates were wise to this 
maneuver and booed him. He was staggered for a moment and lost 
his head, but he recovered it. On the second ballot, the delegation 
switched to Truman, as the band-wagon mbvement got 

368 Jim Farley's story 

As the convention ended I issued a brief statement saying, "I have 
been opposed on principle to a third or fourth presidential term. For 
that reason I voted for the nomination of Senator Byrd of Virginia. 
Having participated in the proceedings of the convention, I accept 
its decision and will support the party nominees." 

I issued the statement because I wanted to have it behind me. If I 
had waited a few days, there would have been many articles asking, 
"What is Farley going to do?" Then I would have been accused of 
being a sorehead. I had preached party loyalty and organization for 
years, so I had to go along with the majority of my party. 

Early in September Chairman Hannegan called on me, suggesting 
I might become active. He asked me to go on a radio program with 
the President and himself, merely to urge the people to register and 
vote. Quite frankly, he said my appearance on such a program would 
help because I had so many admirers in and out of the party. 

"Bob, I just won't do it," I said. "Unless something very unex- 
pected happens, I will not take any action beyond my Chicago state- 
ment. I think the fourth term is a mistake, as was the third. I do 
not think the situation demands that he run. I frankly feel that if he 
is the only individual capable of helping our country and leading 
our party, then there is something wrong with both. I refuse to 
believe we are that badly off. Winning isn't everything, Bob; there 
are principles involved far more important than victories. That's 
the reason I took the course I did. I'm not sore at the President or 
anyone else, but I have lost faith in one I honored and revered; and 
I do not feel I can ever regain! that faith," 

On September 29, 1944, business brought me to Washington again. 
As usual I called at the State Department to pay my respects to Cor- 
dell Hull. I was shocked by his appearance. He was pale and drawn 
and nervous. 

"Jim, I am through," he told me. Tears stood in his eyes. "This ill- 
ness has put me out. I am going to resign as soon as possible after the 
election. I can't make any speeches; my throat condition is not good." 

He did not go into detail on his illness and I did not press him. I 
expressed regret that the country would be deprived of his services; 
but told him the important thing was to get well He thanked me, 

Fourth term 369 

remarking I had always been his friend. I switched the conversation, 
because I was deeply affected and didn't want to show my emotion 
for fear it might have some adverse effect on his condition. I asked 
about the Morgenthau plan. 

"Some time ago," he said, "the President appointed a committee 
to handle some postwar problems. The Department was working on 
the matter and had the situation well in hand when the Morgenthau 
plan was announced at Quebec. My first impulse was to give public 
expression of my opposition to the plan, which would destroy Ger- 
many and put Europe out of economic balance. Then I decided to 
wait and let public opinion take care of the situation." 

Hull said he had not talked with the President since the Quebec 
conference until that morning. I could tell that he resented the short- 
circuiting by the White House. I did not ask him whether he had 
been invited to the conference, assuming that he was not. I left, ex- 
pressing the hope that he would be in the best of health when I 
next saw him. 

On October 2, death took Alfred E. Smith, one of the most color- 
ful figures in American public life. In the four years which followed 
my departure from Washington, I saw much of him and our rela- 
tionship was exceedingly pleasant. We met at least once a week, 
usually in the Turkish bath at the Biltmore Hotel I was always in- 
terested in his comments on the national and world scenes. I visited 
him in the hospital and gave him a fill-in on the political situation. He 
made no comment when I told him I thought Roosevelt would win, 
not so much for his popularity, as in 1936, but because of the general 
conviction that his defeat might comfort the enemy. I said the Ameri- 
can people just didn't want the war to last one minute longer than 
necessary. He made no comment, although he was not in favor of 
the fourth term. He asked me to call again, but his condition took a 
turn for the worse and he was not permitted visitors. His name will 
live in history and I shall always look back with pleasure to memories 
of our long association. 

The only surprise to me in the fourth term election was the 
size of the victory. I felt the President would be reelected but I 
thought there would be greater defections from the Democratic ranks. 

370 Jim Farley's story 

These were more than offset, however, by the shift of 5 to to per cent 
of the Republicans, who voted against change in continuity of the 
war effort, lest it encourage the Axis to prolong the conflict. 

On November 8, 1944, I wrote the following note of congratula- 


Once more the American people have shown their confidence and faith 
in you, and in all probability no man in the history of this Republic will 
ever receive their trust in a like degree. 

We are living in troublous times and you are carrying a burden greater 
than any which your predecessors have been called on to bear. May I ex- 
press the hope that God will give you health and strength, and guide you 
in directing our war activities, and in bringing about an early, just, and last- 
ing peace. 

Sincerely yours, 

Under date of November 10, 1944, 1 received the following reply: 


I am glad indeed to have your letter of November eighth. Every word 

of it is deeply appreciated. 

Always sincerely, 

That letter was signed. 



EARLY IN January, 1945, Mrs. Farley and I and our children re- 
ceived invitations to the fourth term inaugural and to the tea 
that afternoon. I sent our regrets to the President and to White 
House Secretary Early, who forwarded the invitation. 

I talked to a number of persons who were on the portico when 
the President repeated the presidential oath for the fourth time. Almost 
without exception they reported that Roosevelt looked badly. They 
said he appeared tired, haggard, and distraught. This did not surprise 
me, in view of the heavy stresses under which he had labored. His 
voice was not strong as it came over the radio in the briefest of his 
inaugurals, which was a far cry from his first and most famous one. I 
believe that his reassertion of faith in America, which pealed out to 
the land in ringing accents on March 4, 1933, will justly take its place 
among the greatest of presidential utterances. Timeless are his words: 
"This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive, and will 
prosper. So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing 
we have to fear is fear itself." They gave faith to the nation in one 
of its darkest hours and will be remembered with the closing para- 
graph of Lincoln's Second Inaugural, "With malice toward none; with 
charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the 
right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's 
wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his 
widow, and his orphan to do all which may achieve and cherish a 
just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations." 

The inaugural was overshadowed the next day by the spectacular 
discharge of Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones in order to make a 
place in the Cabinet for Henry Wallace, whose term as Vice Presi- 
dent had run out the day before. Having fired Wallace during the 
Chicago convention six months before, Roosevelt felt Wallace was 
entitled to anything he wanted, and Henry chose the Department 

37 1 

372 Jim Farley's story 

of Commerce, where he had tangled horns with Jones more than 
once. I came to Washington a few days later, when the President 
was en route to Yalta, and got a firsthand report from Jesse, 

"Like everyone else I heard rumors about a change in my depart- 
ment, but there was nothing definite," Jesse said. "Harry Hopkins 
made a couple of visits and indicated I should present a resignation, 
but he did not say I should resign. I told him that if I were going to 
be fired, that was all right; but I insisted on being fired by the Boss 
and no one else. Nothing more came of it. 

"I saw the President privately at the Cabinet meeting the Friday 
before the inaugural. Nothing was said about my resignation. I at- 
tended all the inaugural ceremonies, the services, the taking of the 
oath, and the luncheon. I talked to the Boss in a most friendly ex- 
change after the luncheon. About four o'clock, my secretary told 
me Grace Tully had called and said the President would like to see 
me at twelve-thirty Sunday afternoon. At five-fifteen I received the 
letter from the White House asking me to get out. 

"Jim, I must confess this shocked me. I proceeded to prepare a 
reply, but I decided it would be wiser if I were to sleep on it, which 
I did. The next morning I called the White House to ask if the Presi- 
dent was still expecting me, in view of the letter I had received. I 
said I did not think the letter left much to be talked over, I was ad- 
vised by the White House usher Charles Claunch that the President 
expected me. 

"At the White House I was ushered into a side room, then I was 
moved into a larger room. After a half hour's wait, I was led to the 
President's study. I was with him about forty-five minutes and for 
the first time in a conference, I did the talking. I talked for forty of 
the forty-five minutes I was with him. 

"I told him all the things I had wanted to say for a long time. I 
told him I had been sent insulting messages directly and indirectly 
down through the years, and had swallowed them, although many 
of them were not in good taste, because it was my desire to be help- 1 
fill. I told him I knew he never liked me, but was willing to forget 
that in the interests of service. I told him I had been fighting in the 
trenches fox twelve to thirteen hours a day, including Sundays, doing 

Final days 373 

the best I could for the country. I told him I didn't think I deserved 
the treatment I got. I told him that, while I recognized that he had 
the right to fire me, he should have done it personally and not in 
the backhanded way he did do it. I told him what I thought of Wallace 
not personally, that would have taken too long but as Secretary 
of Commerce. I told him Wallace was just incompetent. 

"Jim, I told him all that and a lot more. All he said was that he 
wanted me to remain in the government and suggested I have a talk 
with Stettinius (Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius) about an 
ambassadorial post. I answered that I didn't want to stay in the gov- 
ernment if he wanted me out of. my present post. When I was through 
I got up to leave. The President didn't have much to say. He evaded 
my eyes. As I started out he said, 'Good-by, I'll be seeing you soon.' 
I looked at him and replied, 'No, Mr. President, this is good-by; I am 
not coming back/ 

"If he had talked to me about it a month or so ago, Jim, I would 
have been glad to try and work it out so as to avoid any unpleasant- 
ness. As it was I returned to my office, revised my letter, and phoned 
the White House that I intended to give out his letter and my answer 
at eight o'clock. When no word came from the White House, I re- 
leased the correspondence." 

Ten weeks later, on April 12, I received news of the President's 
death from my daughter, Betty. I was in Baltimore to address the 
Maryland State Bankers' Association that evening. I was in my room 
at the Hotel Belvedere with Joe Kearns of the Baltimore Post and 
some representatives of the Press Association when Betty called. 

"Have you heard the news?" she asked. 

"What news?" 

"The President is dead." 

I was not as surprised as I was shocked by the passing of one whom 
I had known so well and with whom I had been associated so in- 
timately. As memories of the past began crowding in on me, I was 
asked to give a statement, which I did as follows: 

"The death of President Roosevelt is, of course, a shock to me, as 
it will be to all Americans and to millions throughout the world who 
have looked to him for leadership during these trying times. He has 

374 Ji m Farley's story 

served as President of the United States during the most momentous 
years in the Nation's history. 

u The fact that he was elected four times, breaking all precedents, 
is evidence of the confidence that had been reposed in him by so many 
millions of our citizens. It was that confidence that made it possible 
for him to give such inspiring leadership during this period. 

"I shall always recall and cherish our close association during our 
years in New York State, and with his administration for seven and 
a half years in Washington. I am happy and proud to have had some 
small part in assisting his nomination and election as Governor of New 
York and as President of the United States." 

That night, before addressing the bankers, I joined in a radio 
memorial program. I reviewed some of the triumphs in which we 
were associated, and closed with the prayer, May his soul rest in 

The following morning I informed the White House that I wished 
to attend the services in the White House and at the grave in Hyde 
Park. Saturday afternoon I went through the East Gate and was 
ushered into the Blue Room, where the heads of various governmental 
agencies were assembled, along with former Cabinet officers, like my- 
self, and members of the President's personal staff. The air was heavy 
with the scent of flowers. Silence was broken by muffled sobs. 

Promptly at four o'clock the services began with the singing of 
the hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save, Just before the close, 
Bishop Dun of Washington said: 

"In his first inaugural the President bore testimony to his own 
deep faith: 'So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only 
thing we have to fear is fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified 
terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.' 

"As that was his first word to us, I am sure that he would wish it to 
be his last; that as we go forward to the tasks in which he has led 
us, we shall go forward without fear of the future, without fear of 
our allies or of our friends, and without fear of our own insufficiency/* 

After the services we were permitted into the East Room to file 
by the flag-draped coffin, which rested on a catafalque before an 
altar. Off to one side, I saw an empty wheel chair, a most symbolic 

Final days 

vacant chair for the man whose body was fettered but whose courage 
ever placed him with the marchers. 

The next day at the grave, I paid my final respects at simple, im- 
pressive services. Many scenes flashed through my mind during the 
religious and military rites, which no one present there will ever for- 
get. The rose garden has since become a shrine. 

I drove to Hyde Park to attend the services with John C. Farber, 
law partner of Basil O'Connor. Shortly after the burial, Colonel Harry 
Hooker came over to me and said that Mrs. Roosevelt would like to 
see me. I told Harry that she had had more than her share of trouble 
the past few days and I felt it would be intruding to even attempt 
to see her; but he insisted that I accompany him into the house, which 
I did. I talked with Mrs. Roosevelt briefly saying how sorry I was 
for her. She said she appreciated my presence at the White House 
and at the graveside that day. 

The day of the White House services I drove out to the Naval 
Hospital at Bethesda, Maryland, to see Cordell Hull. I found the 
former Secretary of State greatly improved since I last saw him in 
November. His color was good and he had gained twelve pounds. He 
was still far from well but immeasurably improved. We talked, natu- 
rally enough, of the President's passing. 

"I last saw him shortly before he went to Warm Springs, just a 
few days before his death," Cordell said. "When he came in to see 
me I was shocked by his appearance. He looked like death. 

"He, himself, mentioned that he was not feeling well. I asked 
him, then, what was the matter and he said it was a sinus condition 
which caused him to have repeated nausea." 

I asked Hull what they talked about. 

"He told me about the Yalta conference," he said, "He was general 
and vague. Now and then he lost the thread of the conversation. He 
said that Churchill was a garrulous old man and talked about 90 per 
cent of the time, and that only ten per cent of the time was taken by 
Stalin and himself." 

I asked whether Hull had seen him before the President left for 

"Yes," he said. "He called on me before leaving. I tried to convince 

Jim Farley's story 

him that the time had arrived to impress on Stalin and Churchill the 
position of the United States; that we should assert a definite position 
and not retreat an inch." 

Hull spoke of his own resignation, saying: 

"I went to see a certain party on a couple of occasions and told him 
I was no longer able to carry on. He urged me to stay. Once he sent 
Mclntire (Admiral Ross T. Mclntire, the White House physician) 
to see me. He pleaded with me to reconsider. But no one knew better 
than I that I was not myself and I made up my mind to accede to 
Mrs. Hull's wishes and my doctor's advice." 

I asked about the Stettinius appointment. 

"It was a personal appointment of the President," he said. "I did 
not object. I don't know anything about his ability. I assume Hop- 
kins had much to do with the choice since he brought him into the 
government in the first place." 

Hull told me that the afternoon of Pearl Harbor when the Cabinet 
met with the high command, General Marshall came up to him and 
said, "Everything you said would happen has happened." This, he 
said, was acknowledgment of his prediction in November that diplo* 
macy had ended and the Japanese situation was in the hands of the 
Army and Navy. 

In our evaluation of President Roosevelt, Cordell and I agreed 
that he was a sick man at Yalta and should not have been called upon 
to make decisions affecting this country and the world, Physical ill- 
ness, we knew, taxed the mind and left him in no shape to bargain 
with such hard bargainers as the Russians and such astute diplomats 
as the British. 

Since that day I have done much world traveling. Early in 1946 I 
went to Rome for the Consistory at which thirty-two churchmen, 
including four American prelates, were elevated to the rank of Car- 
dinal, a religious pageant I shall never forget and for which I shall 
ever be grateful to Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New 
York. I was back in Europe in March and April. In the fall of 1946, 
I went around the world. In these tours I saw many of the leading 
men of all nations, some of whom I had already met on visits here, 

Final days 377 

others for the first time. May I note in passing, that of all the per- 
sons I have met in some degree of intimacy, I consider the greatest 
to be His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, His simple dignity, the breadth 
of his intellect, and devout humility have made him a beacon of en- 
lightenment in a sorely troubled world. Winston Churchill, the 
embodiment of courageous statesmanship, and General Douglas 
MacArthur, perhaps our greatest soldier, are figures who live with 
us, yet stride in history. 

Without exception the leading men of all nations expressed ad- 
miration for the courage of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the aid he had 
given in the fight against the common foe. Yet, on every side, I heard 
expressions of regret that he was not himself in the most critical days 
of world history. Had he not been physically and mentally tired at 
Teheran and Yalta, and at home, and had America had a more vigor- 
ous voice in international affairs, statesmen of the world are agreed 
almost without exception that many of the troubles vexing the world 
today would not have arisen. 

Be that as it may, I am confident that the problems facing the world 
and the nation are not insurmountable. Each generation, like each 
individual, has its crises. These can be solved if met with patient un- 
derstanding, wise industry, and faith in the right. In the case of 
America, I am certain that the difficulties confronting us will be re- 
solved, as they have in the past, by the people themselves in the ex- 
ercise of constitutional processes. I am confident that our example is 
one that will inspire the people of the world. Our heritage of freedom 
will be carried from our hearthstone like a precious torch to en- 
kindle national hearthstones throughout the world. It will warm all 
peoples with the comforting fire of liberty. 


Adams, Alva B., 124, 133, 138, 141, 146 

Administrative reform, 38 

Agricultural Adjustment Act, 76 

Air-mail contracts, cancellation of, 46 

Alabama, 186 

Albany Post Road, 246 

Aldrich, K. P., 187 

Allen, Florence E., 344 

Allred, James V., 141 

Alsop, Joseph W., 135 

Ambrose, Harold, 325 

American Federation of Labor (AFL), 

American Labor Party, 102, no, 112, 131, 

35 J > 354. 357 
Appleby, Paul, 132 
Army Air Corps, 46, 47 
Army-Notre Dame game, 273 
Ashurst, Henry F., 89 
Astor, Vincent, 35 


Bailey, Carl A., 187 

Bailey, Josiah W., 50, 203, 204 

Baker, Newton D., 13, 19, 33 

Bankhead, John H., 78, 329 

Bankhead, William, 184, 186, 230, 235, 240, 

275, 276, 301, 302, 305 
Banking Day address, 38 
Banks, closing of, 38 
Barkley, Alben W., 15, 17, 87-89, 92, 93, 

124, 125, 134, 137, 140, i4* i44i *4$ 

181, 204, 220, 230, 235, 240, 277-281, 

284, 288, 289, 291, 367 
Barnesville, Georgia, 142 
Baruch, Bernard M., 158 
"Battle Page," New York Daily News 

(1936), 325 
Beaverbrook, William Maxwell Aitken, 

Lord, 360 

Beck, Joseph, 192, 193 
Behind the Ballots, 135 
Belvedere Hotel, 373 
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 

ii, 86 

Bennett, John J., 347, 348, 351, 353-35<5 

Benson, Elmer, 149 

Berle, Adolph A., 41, 233, 290 

Bethlehem Steel Co., 42 

Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel, Jr., 192 

Biddle, Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel, Jr., 

Biltmore Hotel, 312, 334, 354, 369 

Bingham, Robert W., 10, 126 

Birmingham, Edward H., 168, 240 

Birthday Ball, President's, 165 

Black, Hugo L., 42, 78, 101 
appointment to Supreme Court, 96-99 
Ku Klux Klan membership, 97-99 

Blackstone Hotel, 268, 270, 292 

Blaine, James G., 62 

Blum, Leon, 194 

Boettiger, Anna, 219, 220, 289 

Boettiger, John, 219, 220, 234, 289 

Bonus veto, 53, 58 

Borah, William E., 51, 97, 189 

Boston, 228 

Bowers, Claude G., 290 

Boyle, Joseph J., 312 

Brain Trust, 26, 41 

Brandeis, Louis D., 73, 162 

Bratton, Sam G., 97, 162 

Bray, M. William, 5, 147 

Bray, William J., 173, 244, 283, 284,, 289, 

3 2 5 

Brennan, Robert, 350 
Bruce, Howard, 122, 301 
Bryan, William Jennings, 71 
Bulldey, Robert J., 124 
Bullitt, William C, 56, 194, 197 
Burchard, Rev. Dr. Samuel D., 62 
Burke, Edward R., 74, 8 1, 96 
Burke, William H., 223 
Business conditions, reports on, 103-107 
Butler, Pierce, 79, 216 
Byrd, Harry Clifton, 122, 123, 134 
Byrd, Harry Flood, 14, 17, 19, 33* *& 

164, 184, 187, 296, 364, 368 
Byrd, Richard .,19 s 
Byrnes, James F., 18, 52, 75, 82, 87, 91, 92, 

132, 137, 184, 230, 240, 255, 256, 260- 

263, 277, 278, 289, 194, 301, 302, 330, 

333, 366, 367 




Cabinet, sworn in at White House, 37 

Cabinet making, 33, 34 

Cabinet meeting, first, 39 

California, 25 

Camp, Lawrence S., 139, 142, 146 

Campaign, second, organization of, 9, 62- 


Canal Zone, 288 
Cannon, Clarence, 132 
Capital Gains Tax, 125 
Cardozo, Benjamin N., 37 
Carlton Hotel, 276 
Carmody, John M., 297 
Carswell, William B., 356 
Carter, Amon G., 23 
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 60 
Catledge, Turner, 135, 304 
Cecil, Robert, Lord, 1 1 1 
Cermak, Anton J., 21 
Chamberlain, Neville, 189 
Chandler, A. B. (Happy), 55, 125, 134, 

141, 142, 204, 238 

Chicago convention, 1940, 259-282 
Farley presented as candidate, 259-270, 


Hopkins-Byrnes strategy, 260 
Chicago Stadium, 15, 64, 271, 317 
China, Great Wall of, 39 
Churchill, Winston, 189, 198, 199, 346, 

360, 362, 375-377 
Ciano, Galeazzo, Count, 197 
Cincinnati, 228 
City of Flint y 209 
Civilian Conservation Corps, 132 
Clark, Bennett C, 74, 123, 134, 139, 146, 

224, 265, 297 
Clark, D. Worth, 142 
Claunch, Charles, 372 
Cleveland, Grover, 7, 62 
Cobb, Beatrice, 318 
Coca-Cola Export Corporation, 256, 323, 


Cohen, Ben, 187, 237-240 
Colgan, Edward J., Jr., 288 
Colorado, 203 
Columbus, Ohio, 172 
Committee of One, 59 
Congress, Seventy-third, review of, 47 

Seventy-fifth, 141 
Congress of Industrial Organizations 

(CIO), 1 10 

Connally, Tom, 20, 141 
Connecticut, 64, 149 
Conventions (see Democratic National 

Convention; Democratic State Con- 

Coolidge, Calvin, 95, 125 

Copeland, Royal S., 31, 139, 355 

Corcoran, Thomas G., 78, 80, 81, 98, 99, 
127, 130, 139, 146, 157, 182, 183, 187, 
201, 202, 237, 238, 294, 303 

Costigan, Howard, 234 

Coughlin, Rev. Charles E., 52, 128 

County Meath, Ireland, 2 

Court of Appeals, 162 

Court bill, death of, 94-96 

Court fight, 77-90, 95 

Court Packing Plan, 72-76 
defeat of, 82 

Cox, E. E., 139, 146 

Cox, James M., 3, 4, 33, 95, 187, 227, 282, 
333, 34i 

Cox-Roosevelt ticket, 4, 282 

Cracow, 193 

Craig, Malin, 55, 80, 81 

Crawford, F. Marion, 248 

Crump, Edward H., 272 

Cudahy, John, 197 

Cummings, Homer, 36, 46, 52, 57, 61, 72, 
73, 114, 135, 156, 157, 266 

Cummings, Walter J., 108 

Curley, James M., 149 

Curran, Edward M., 365 

Curry, John F., 24, 29, 167, 183 

Cutting, Bronson, 34 

Czechoslovakia, partitioning of, 162, 166 


Dailey, Vincent, 22, 43, 117, 266-270, 290, 

334-33<5, 355 
Daladier, Edouard, 194 
Daniels, Josephus, 97 
Davey, Martin L,, 124 
Davies, Joseph E., 112, 257, 361 
Davis, John W,, 18, 361 
Davis, Thomas S,, 283, 284 
Davis, William H., 344 
DeLacy, Hugh, 234 
Delano, Laura, 181 
Democratic National Committee, 27, 57, 

58, 70, 211, 219, 263 

Democratic National Convention, 1924, 
New York City, 4 

1928, Houston, Texas, 4 

1932, Chicago, 15, 27 

1936, Philadelphia, 62 

1940, Chicago, 259, 271-282 
Democratic reversals, reasons for, 154 
(See also New Deal rout) 



Democratic State Committee, 337 

Democratic State Convention, 1932, Al- 
bany, 29, 30 

1936, Syracuse, New York, 64 
1942, Brooklyn, New York, 347-358 

Dern, George H., 25, 30, 33, 55, 80, 115 

Detroit, 233 

De Valera, Eamon, 194, 340, 350 

Dewey, Thomas E., 147, 157, 188, 211, 243, 

Dewson, Mary, 15, 334 

Dies Committee, 149 

Dieterich, William H., 92, 94, 122, 133 

Dill, Clarence C, 18, 25 

Disney, Wesley E., 124 

Dodd, William E., Jr., 139 

Donahey, Victor, 187, 202 

Dooling, James J., 167 

Doughton, Robert L., 225, 226 

Douglas, William O., 227, 253, 301 

Downey, Sheridan, 144 

Doyle, Patrick A., 287, 288 

Drum, Hugh A., 55 

DufTy, F. Ryan, 144 

Duffy, Jane, 270, 271, 278 

Du Pont, Ethel, 107 

Durbin, Andrew T., 298 

Dutchess County, New York, 160, 180 

Earle, George H., 133, 152 
Early, Stephen T., 28, 60, 61, 63, 107, 130, 
132, 208, 229, 242, 243, 245, 247, 289, 

325, 34<5 

East Third Street Supply Co., 2 
Edison, Charles E., 212-214, 219, 228, 242, 


Eire, 340 

Election outcome predicted, 1932, 31, 32 
Elizabeth, Queen of England, 170, 180, 

198, 307, 308 
Elks, Benevolent and Protective Order 

of, n, 86 

Emanuel, Victor, 202 
Empire City Race Track, 157 
Epstein, Henry, 352 
Ethiopia, 198 

Evans, Silliman, 20, 23, in, 265 
The Eyes of Texas Are upon You, 288 

Farber, John C., 375 

Farley, Ann E., 3, 170, 191, 194, 283, 287, 
*9 2 353, 37 1 

Farley, Elizabeth A., 3, 31, 37, 45, 49, 143, 
169-171, 178, 231, 283, 287, 292, 319, 
328, 353, 371 
Farley, Elizabeth M., 3, 170, 191, 194, 283, 

287, 292, 371, 373 
Farley, Ellen Goldrick, 2 
Farley, James, 2 
Farley, James A., appointed Postmaster 

General, 30 

break with Roosevelt, beginnings of, 68 
Cardinal Mundelein's talk with, 173-179 
Chairman of Democratic National 

Committee, r, 27, 143, 172, 334 
Chairman of Democratic State Com- 
mittee, 333, 337, 363 
Chairman of Democratic Town Com- 
mittee, Stony Point, New York, 2, 

Chairman of New York State Athletic 

Commission, 3 

Chairman of Rockland County Demo- 
cratic Committee, 3, 333 
early years of, 2, 3 

Eleanor Roosevelt pleads with, 313-317 
elected to New York State Assembly, 4 
Franklin D. Roosevelt pleads with, 307- 

? 12 . 

hat in ring, 223-235 

and last Cabinet meeting, 318-331 
opposition to third term, 151, 236-245 
Port Warden of New York City, 3 
Postmaster General, 143, 284 
presented as candidate at Chicago con- 
vention, 259-270, 284-288 
refusal to run third term campaign, 256 
resignation as Democratic Chairman, 

New York State, 363 
resignation as Postmaster General, 324 
resignation from Cabinet, 323, 324 
Secretary of Democratic State Com- 
mittee, 5 

Town Clerk of Stony Point, 3 
Town Supervisor of Stony Point, 3 

Farley, James A., & Company, Inc., * 

Farley, James A., Jr., 3, 180, 181, 293, 371 

Farley, John, 2 

Farley, John J^ 2 

Farley, Mary Gogarty, ^ 

Farley, Philip R., 2 

Farley, Thomas L., 2, 229, 237 

Farley, William H., 2 

Farm Repeal Act, 94 

Fay, James H., 139, 146, 183, 201 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 38 

Federal Power Commission, 240 

Federal Security Administration, 170 


Fifth Avenue Hotel, 62 

Finnegan, Elizabeth A. (see Farley, Eliza- 
beth A.) 

Finnegan, Harry B., 2 

Fisher, Raymond M. (Pat), 269, 287, 288 

Fitzgerald, David E., 318, 319, 322 

Florida, 186 

Flynn, Edward J., 10, 22, 28, 37, 43, 80, 
no, 112, 139, 183, 219, 227, 238, 261, 
266-270, 272, 289, 312, 318, 322, 323, 

325, 334-33<5i 343, 347 354> 357 35 8 > 

Flynn, Mrs. Edward J., 34 

Forestry Bureau, 115 

Forster, Rudolph, 98, 325 

Fort Peck, Montana, 38 

Fort Worth, Texas, 82 

Foulois, Benjamin F., 46 

Fourth term, 359-370 
Roosevelt reelected for, 369, 370 

Frankfurter, Felix, 161-163, 341 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones, 279 

Franklin Field, Philadelphia, 62 

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Washing- 
ton, D.C., 228 

"Friends of Roosevelt," 59 

Fulton, Missouri, 232 

Gainesville, Georgia, 127 

Gallup poll, 80, 232, 330 

Gannett, Frank, 128 

Gardner, O. Max, 250, 367 

Garner, John Nance, 12, 20, 23, 25, 52-54, 
64, 70, 71, 78, 82-86, 88, 91, 94, 95, in, 
137, 141, 145, 146, 153, 155, 156, 158, 
163, 164, 166, 168, 170-172, 184, 189, 

2O5, 2O7, 210, 214, 215, 2l8, 220, 221, 

223, 227, 230, 237, 238, 242, 253-255, 
260, 265, 267, 276, 288, 289, 295, 301, 

305, 316, 328, 332, 333, 342, 343, 353, 


Cactus Jack, 288 
as presidential candidate, 168, 217-222, 

Garner, Mrs, John Nance, 85, 86, 145, 171, 

207, 276 

Gavagan, Joseph A., 12 
General Builders Supply Corporation, 2 
George, Walter F., 122, 127, 133, 142, 146, 

155, 161, 164, 184, 186, 196 
George VI, 56, 170, 180, 198 
George Washington Bridge, New York, 

Georgia, 302 

University of, 142 
Gerard, James W., 4, 56, 364 
Germany, 192, 198 
Gerry, Peter G., 48, 202 
Gibbons, Stephen B., 202 
Gillette, Guy M., 123, 133, 138, 146, 240 
Glass, Carter, 33, 73, 78, 132, 155, 161, 164, 

187, 203, 204, 269, 270, 273, 283-288, 

291, 296, 297, 309 
Glass, Mrs. Carter, 283 
Goldrick, John, 2 
Goldrick, Rose, 2 
Goldsborough, T. Alan, 134, 144 
Good Neighbor League, 59 
Gordon, Max, 156 

Grand Central Station, New York, 328 
Grand Coulee project, 38 
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 62 
Grassy Point, New York, 2 
Grassy Point Grammar School, 2 
Grayson, Gary T., 109 
Greater New York Fund, 345 
Gridiron Club, 157, 340 
Groton School, 37 
Guffey, Joseph F., 22, 48, 87, 92, 184, 311, 


Hagerty, James A., Sr., 351 

Hague, Frank, 14, n8, 149, 212, 213, 239, 

261, 272, 294, 309 
Halsey, Edwin A., 284 
Hamilton, Claude E,, Jr., 99 
Hand, Charles S., 290 
Hand, Learned, 344 
Hannegan, Robert E., 364, 367, 368 
Harding, Warren G., 4, 95, 261 
Harriman, W* Averell, 134 
Harrison, Pat, 23, 74, 82, 87-89, 91-93, 124, 

181, 182, 265 

Hartfield, Joseph M,, 295, 296 
Hartford, John, 169 
Harwood, Charles, 169 
Haskell, William N., 354 
Hatch, Carl A., 83 
Haverstraw, New York, 2, 3 
Hawaii, 39 
Hawes, Harry B., 19 
Hayden, Carl T., 132 
Hayes, Patrick Joseph, Cardinal, 34 
Hearst, William Randolph, 24 
Henderson, Leon, 261 
Herring, Clyde L,, 240 
Hill, David B., 7 



Hill, Lister, 284, 329 

Hilliard, Albert, 139 

Hilliard, Benjamin, 138 

Hillsboro, Texas, 343 

Hines, James J., 167 

Hirohito, 360 

Hitler, Adolf, 56, 156, 189, 193, 198, 360 

Hoey, Clyde, 250 

Holmes, George, 157 

Home Owners Loan Corporation, 38, 84 

Hooker, Harry, 181, 187, 191, 375 

Hoover, Herbert, 14, 37, 198 

Hopkins, Harry, 57, 63, 92, 102, 126, 127, 
130, 132, 138, 144, 146, 150, 153, 156, 
185, 197, 219, 237-239, 247, 255, 260, 
261, 263, 264, 266, 270, 294, 297, 303, 

37, 3*7> 3 2 i> 3 2 <5, 3*9* 34 8 > 37 2 

Hopkins-Byrnes strategy at Chicago con- 
vention, 260 

Horner, Henry, 122 

Howard, Roy W., 19 

Howe, Louis McHenry, 6, 7, 9, n, 23, 26, 

Howes, William W., 15, 41, 80, 318 

Hudson River, 246 

Hughes, Charles Evans, 37, 6 1, 78, 344, 361 

Hull, Cordell, 18, 25, 33, 40, 52, 113, 118, 
135, 153, 165, 166, 172, 184, 185, 187, 
189, 190, 198, 200, 201, 205, 207, 210, 
214, 215, 219, 225-227, 230-232, 237, 
238, 244, 253, 255, 256, 261, 266, 267, 
275, 276, 282, 294, 295, 301, 305, 316, 
328, 330, 331, 34 I -343 349* 359-3^3* 
3<58, 3.75. 37* 

on mission to Russia, 350, 361, 362 
on war situation, 345, 346 

Hull, Mrs. Cordell, 207, 360, 376 

Hyde Park, 28 

Hyde Park conferences, 180-191, 246-258 

Ickes, Harold L., 34, 50, 52, 57, 63, 115, 
117, 123, 127, 130, 132, 135, 201, 214, 
238, 240, 244, 297, 303, 326, 342 

Igoe, Michael, 122 

Inaugural Address, First, 37 

Inauguration Day, first, 36 

Indianapolis, 82 

International News Service, 157 


Jackson, Andrew, 164, 247, 349 
Jackson, Burris C., 343 
Jackson, Howard W., 19 

Jackson, Robert, Secretary of Demo- 
cratic National Committee, 22 

Jackson, Robert H., 78, no, 113-117, 125, 
132, J53 i 8 5i J 87, 218, 225, 227, 231, 
2 43 303 

Jacksonville, Florida, 35 

Jacobsen, William S., 240 

Jefferson Island, Louisiana, 144 

Jehol Province, Manchuria, 39 

Jester, Mildred, 318, 319 

Johnson, Edwin C., 124, 203, 224 

Johnson, Hiram, 34, 51, 74 

Johnson, Hugh S., 41 

Johnson, Louis A., 80, 81, 114, 144, 196, 
241, 242, 294, 301, 329 

Johnston, John B., 356 

Jones, C. Alvin, 133 

Jones, Jesse, 132, 135, 146, 185, 255, 293, 

295, 296, 300-302, 305, 326, 333 
appointed Secretary of Commerce, 324 
discharged, 371-373 

Julian, William A., 10 


Kalinin, Mikhail, 43 

Kearns, Joseph, 373 

Keegan, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Robert F., 34" 

Keen, Mrs. L. O., 288 

Keenan, Joseph B., 78, 127, 139 

Kelly, Edward J., 49, 50, 92, n 8, 122, 133, 

233, 234, 239, 261, 272, 274, 280, 287, 

294, 309, 311, 367 

Kelly, Frank V., 140, 239, 353-356' 
Kenneally, William F., 202 
Kennedy, Joseph P., 10, 24, 28, 112, 115, 

126, 158, 198, 199, 264, 345 
Kennedy, Joseph P., Jr., 264 
Kennedy, Michael J., 347 
Kennedy, Thomas, 133 
Kentucky, 238 
King, William, 89 
Kirk, Alexander C., 192, 197 
Knox, Frank, 62, 212, 213, 240, 244, 345 
Krashel, Nelson G., 149 
Kremer, J. Bruce, 16, 19 
Krock, Arthur, 76, 126, 156 

La Follette, Philip, 113 

La Follette, Robert M., 48, 113 

La Guardia, Fiorello, 101, 102, no, 113, 

123, 131, 168, 326, 363 
Lament, Daniel S., 7 
Lamont, Thomas W., 40, 126 

3 4 


Landon, Alf M., 62, 63 

defeat of, 66 

Lane, Franklin B., Jr., 158 
Latonia Race Track, 144 
Lawrence, David L., 311 
Leahy, William D., 346 
Lee, Joshua B., 137, 240 
Legislative Correspondents' Dinner at 

Albany, 167, 168 
Le Hand, Marguerite, 43, 102, 144, 180, 

219, 220, 247, 307, 340 
Lehman, Herbert H., 5, 10, 29, 31, 94, 125, 

131, 139, 140, 147, 148, 157, 164, 168, 

230, 270, 272, 347, 348, 351, 352, 354, 

355, 357 

Lehman, Mrs. Herbert H., 125 
Lewis, David, 134, 139* *44> *45 l82 
Lewis, James Hamilton, 13 
Lewis, John L., opposition of, 336 
Lincoln, Abraham, 76, 349 
Lindbergh, Charles A., 341 
Lindley, Ernest K., 225, 226, 228, 229, *3* 
Littell, Norman, 180 
Litvinov, Maxim, 43"45 3^ 2 
Logan, M. M., 141, 204 
Lonergan, Augustine, 123, 133, 146 
Long, Huey P., 15, 16, 45, 50-52-, 184 
Longworth, Alice, 205 
Lubin, Isadore, 103 
Lucas, Scott W., 122, 254, 301, 367 


McAdoo, William Gibbs, 23, 25, 124, 134, 

141, 144 

MacArthur, Douglas, 55, 279, 377 
McCarran, Pat, 88, 124, 133, 139, 141, *4" 
McCarthy, Joseph, 169 
McCooey, John H,, 24, 351 
McCormack, John, 330 
MacDufHe, 140 
McFarlane, William D., 138 
McGarry, Thomas D., 281 
McGrady, Edward F. T 115 
Mclntire, Ross T., 109, 197, 376 
Mclntyre, Marvin H., 28, 60, 61, 63, 69, 

84, 85, 88, 112, 138, 165, 197, 348 
McKee, Joseph V., 43 
McKellar, Kenneth, 50, 132, 272 
McLean, Fred W., 13, 248 
McNary, Charles, 2*11, 244 
McNinch, Frank R,, 157 
McNutt, Paul V., 23, 71, 115, 123, 170, 185, 

214, 215, 219, 225, 256, 300, 301, 305 

McReynolds, James C, 79, 83 

Madison Square Garden, 64, 336 

Mahoney, Jeremiah T., 101, 102 

Maine, 65, 180 

Maloney, Francis T., 48, 203, 255 

Manchester, New Hampshire, 66 

Marley's ghost, 127 

Marshall, George C., 376 

Martin, Joseph W., Jr., 211 

Maryland, 279 

Maryland State Bankers' Association, 373 

Maryland University, 134 

Massachusetts, 64, 149, 223 

Massachusetts votes, 309 

Maverick, Maury, 84, 138 

Mayflower Hotel, 36, 49, 92, 169, 228 

Mead, James M., 131, 147, 148, 352, 354, 

355i 357 

Mellett, Lowell, 139 
Merlin Keilholz Paper Company, 2 
Merritt Parkway squabble, 149 
Michelson, Charles, 63, 70, 71, 139, 189, 

211, 235, 290, 317 
Michigan, 149 
Milligan, Maurice A., 108 
Milwaukee, 233 
Minnesota, 16 

Minton, Sherman, 98, 137, 367 
Miquelon, 346 

(See St. Pierre) 
Mitchell, William, 344 
Moley, Raymond, 26, 28, 40, 41, 290 
Molotov, vyacheslav M., 350, 362 
Montana, 162, 203 
Montauk Club, Brooklyn, 356 
Monticello, New York, 53 
Morgan, J. P., and Co., 126 
Morgenthau, Henry, Jr., 103, 104, 106, 

107, 115, 132, 135, 145, 199, 200, 241, 

342, 344, 369 

Morgenthau, Henry, Sr., 10 
Morgenthau plan, 369 
Morris, Most Rev. J. B., 89 
Morris, Sam, 300 
Morrow, Wright, 288 
Moscicki, Ignace, 192, 193 
Moscow (U.S.S.R.), 361 
Mullen, Arthur F., 15, 20, 22, 28, 34 
Mundelein, George William, Cardinal, 

173-179, 204 
Murphy, Frank, 52, 126, 135, 149, 153, 185, 

201, 216, 218 
Murray, James E., 97 
Murray, William H,, 13, 14 
Mussolini, Benito, 45, 55, 189, 197, 198, 360 




Nash, Patrick, 122, 133 

Nashville Tennessectn, 265 

National Recovery Administration 

(NRA), 4 i, 54 
Neal, Margery, 54 
Neutrality bill, 94 
Neutrality revision, 202-204 
New Deal, birth of, 26 

overhauled by Supreme Court, 54 

rout of, 137-150 
New Guinea, 242 
New London, Connecticut, 242 
New Mexico, 162 
New Orleans, 247 
New York delegates, 310 
New York State Athletic Commission, 3 
New York Times, 76, 126, 152, 156, 255, 

304, 35 1 

Newfoundland, 242 
Nice, Harry W., 144 
Niles, David K., 127, 261 
Nobel peace prize, m 
Norris, George E., 81, 249 
North Carolina, 250 
North Dakota, 186, 248 
Notre Dame, University of, 56 
Nourmahal, Vincent Astor's yacht, 35 
Nye, Gerald K., 341 


O'Brien, John P., 43 

O'Connell, Ambrose, 66, 141, 232, 290, 325 

O'Connor, Basil, 10, 69, 72, 112, 231, 375 

O'Connor, J. F. T., 216 

O'Connor, John J., 89, 139, 146, 167, 182, 

183, 202 

O'Conor, Herbert H., 122, 134, 164 

O'Day, Caroline, 352 

O'Dwyer, William, 363 

Oklahoma, 302 

O'Leary, Joseph V., 352 

Olson, Culbert, 301 

O'Mahoney, Joseph C, 15, 41, 88, 96, 97, 

162, 202-204, 216 
Ottinger, Albert, 5, 6 

Pacelli, Eugenio, Cardinal, 45 
(See also Pius XII) 

Packard Commercial School, 2 

Page, Walter Hines, 199 

Palmer-Buckner ticket, 308 

Panay, U.S.S., sunk by Japanese, 115 

Party reform, attempt at, through purges, 


Patterson, Richard C., Jr., 345 
Patterson, Robert P., 352 
Paul-Boncour, Joseph, 194 
Peabody, Endicott, 37 
Pearl Harbor, 340, 344-346 
Pearson, Drew, 135 
Pendergast, Thomas J., 22, 108, 134 
Pennsylvania, 149 
Pepper, Claude, 138, 146, 261 
Perkins, Frances, 34, 43, 54, 103, 106, 115, 

135, 201, 277-279, 283, 328, 344, 346, 


Perkins, Fred W., 152 
Petain, Henri Philippe, 346 
Pew, Joseph N., 243 
Philadelphia, 228 
Philippines, 34, 39 

High Commissioner of, 52 
Phillips, Leon C., 302 
Phillips, William, 56, 156, 194, 197 
Picard, Frank A., 48 
Pilsudski, Jozef, 193 
Pittman, Key, 19, 28, 88 
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 97 
Pius XI, 45 
Pius XII, 194, 248, 377 
Poletti, Charles, 147, 348, 352 
Pope, James P., 134, 142 
Post, Robert, 152, 255 
Post Office Department, 42, 172, 311, 323, 


Postal Inspection Service, 187 

Potomac, presidential yacht, 144, 170 

Pou^hkeepsie, New York, 246 

Presidential campaign, second, organiza- 
tion of, 9, 62-65 

Presidential nomination, 1940, concern 
about, 223 

Presidential Special, 69, 338 

Price, James H., 139 

Primary campaigns, Roosevelt's partici- 
pation in, 138-150 

Proskauer, Joseph M., 16 

Public Works Administration, 57, 61, 130, 

J 3 2 

Puerto Rico, 242 
Purge campaign, 120-136 

failure or, 137-150 
Pyke, Bernice S., 18 

3 86 



Quayle, Oliver A., Jr., 117, 188, 257, 259 
Queens Borough, 228 


Raskob, John J., 15, 16, 31, 60 

Rayburn, Sam, 20, 23, 25, 78, 130, 132, 182, 

205, 220, 231, 255, 265, 289, 301, 367 
Reconstruction Finance Corporation 

(RFC), 78,99, 132 
Recovery program, 40 
Reed, James A., 13, 14 
Reed, Stanley F., 98, 119 
Reilly, Michael, 180 
Reorganization bill, opposition to, 128- 


Reynaud, Paul, 194 
Rhode Island, 149 
Richie, William, 273 
Ritchie, Albert C., 13, 14, 18, 33 
Rivers, Eurith D., 122, 127, 134, 302 
Robert, Evelyn Walker, 257 
Robert, L. W. (Chip), Jr., 63, 237, 257, 

Robinson, Joseph T., 52, 74, 78, 82, 86, 87, 

89, 91, 124, 139, 187 
Robinson, Mrs. Joseph T., 91 
Rockland County, New York, 3, 246, 269 
Roddan, Edward L., 66, 136, 141, 170, 191, 

289, 290, 325, 349 
Roe, James A., 354 
Rogers, Alan, 197 
Roman Catholic, 166, 173-179 
Roosevelt, Daniel, 159 
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 31, 34, 68, 142, 162, 

181, 187, 191, 220, 247, 283, 289, 297, 

299, 300, 307, 334, 35 375 
pleads with Farley, 313-317 
Roosevelt, Elliott, 169, 299, 300 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., attitude toward 

opposition from party members, 120- 


candidate for President, 1932, 7 

concern with succession, 152 

death of, 373 

elected Governor of New York, 5, 6 

first meeting with Farley, 3 

Jackson Day address, blasts at monop- 
oly, 117 

pleads with Farley, 307-312 

preconvention campaign headquarters, 
1931, New York City, 9 

reelected for fourth term, 369, 370 

rcelected for third term, 288 

statements on third term, 186, 190, 249, 


Roosevelt, Franklin D., Jr., 107, 299 
Roosevelt, Hall, 60, 61 
Roosevelt, James, 82, 109, 120, 121, 127, 

132, 138, 144, 145 
Roosevelt, Mrs. James, 142 
Roosevelt, Kermit, 31 
Roosevelt, Sara Delano, 30, 36, 159, 181, 

247. 3 1 ** 33 6 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 31, 53, 205 
Roosevelt-Garner ticket, 20 
Roosevelt Republican League, 59 
Roosevelt-Wallace ticket, 301-303 
Roper, Daniel C., 19, 57, 80, 81, tor, 104- 

106, 114, 126, 134, 135, 144, 156, 157, 


Rosenberg, Anna, 272 
Rosenman, Samuel I., 41, 72, 114, 272, 

277, 278 

Runyon, Damon, 24 
Russia, relations with, 43, 44 

St. John the Divine, Cathedral of, 60 

St. John's Episcopal Church, 36 

St. Pierre, seizure of, by Free French 

forces, 346 

Sanders, Morgan, 138 
Saunders, Jared V., 16 
Sawyer, Charles, 124, 301 
Scholis, Victor, 247 
"School of Hard Knocks," 50 
Schwab, Charles M., 42 
Schwellenbach, Lewis B,, 137 
Scrooge, Ebenezer, 128 
Scudder, Townsend H., 5 
Seattle, 234 

Securities and Exchange Commission, 38 
Shannon, Joseph P., 265 
Sheehan, William F., 4 
Shipstead, Henrik, 48, 51 
Shouse, Jouett, 16-18 
The Sidewalks of New York, 4 
Silver, Charles H., 352 
Simonds, George S., 55 
Simpson, Kenneth F., 168 
Sirovich, William L, n8 
Smigly-Rydz, Edward, 192, 193 
Smith, Alfred E., 3, 4, 6, 18, 26, 29, a3 59 

81, 148, 166, 168, 187, 204, 238, 290, 

353* 355, 3<*9 

as "Happy Warrior," 4, 16 
Smith, EUison D., 124, 133, 144, 146 
Smith, Howard, 139, 146 



Snyder, Monte, 180 

Social Security Board, 54 

South America, 338 

Spellman, Francis, Cardinal, 376 

Springfield, Massachusetts, 259 

Stalin, Joseph, 362, 375, 376 

Stanley, William, 122 

Stapleton, Benjamin F., 124 

Stark, Lloyd C, 134, 185, 254, 301 

Starr, George E., 234, 235 

Steagall, Henry, 329 

Steinhardt, Lawrence A., 10, 352 

Stephens, Harold, 162 

Stettinius, Edward R., Jr., 199, 373, 376 

Stevens Hotel, 266, 292, 303, 304, 317 

Stimson, Henry L., 198, 240, 242, 244, 328, 


Stokes, Thomas L., 84 
Stone, Harlan F., 73 
Stony Point, New York, 2, 49, 333 
Stony Point High School, 2 
Storm, Fred, 30 
Straus, Jesse L, 10 
Straus, Nathan, 232, 272, 352 
SufTern, New York, 139 
Sullivan, Christopher, 167, 335, 336 
Sullivan, John L., 66 
Summers, Hatton, 81, 138 
Sutherland, George, 79, 118 
Swanson, Claude A., 33, 114, 135, 144, 164, 


Swope, Herbert Bayard, 40, 41, 262, 277, 
278, 3<5<5 

Taft, Robert A., 211, 237, 243 
Talmadge, Eugene, 134, 146 
Tammany Hall, 326-328 
Taylor, Edward T., 132 
Taylor, Myron C., 42, 218 
Teheran, 362, 363, 377 
Tennessee Valley Authority, 38 
Texas, 20 

Thatcher, John Boyd, 29 
Third term, 151-191 

beginning talk of, 151-157 

opposition tp, 205-207, 237, 238 

Roosevelt reelected, 288 

Roosevelt's statements on, 186, 190, 249, 


Thirds-term election, 332-339 
Thomas, Elmer, 124, 138, 141, 146 
Thompson, Malvina C., 220 
Timmons, Bascom N., 298, 328, 332 
Townsend, Francis E. f 52 

Traylor, Melvin, 33 

Trohan, Walter, 304 

Truman, Harry S., 108, 134, 137, 185, 232, 

34*> 3<57 

Tufty, Esther Van Wagoner, 304 
Tugwell, Rexford G., 41, 57 
Tullis, Dick, 84 

Tully, Grace, 102, 165, 307, 372 
Tumulty, Joseph P., 205 
Tydings, Millard E., 122, 123, 133, 134, 

139, 144-146, 182, 184, 203, 204, 253, 

273, 279, 288, 305 


Underwood, Oscar W., 98 

United States Army Chief of Staff, 55 

United States Gypsum Co., z 

United States Housing Administrator, 


United States marshal, 237 
U.S.S. Indianapolis, 40 
U.S.S. Panay, sunk by Japanese, 115 
United States Steel Corp., 42, 218 
University of Georgia, 142 
University of Maryland, 134 
University of Notre Dame, 56 
University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., 

Uvalde, Texas, 83, 84, 138, 332, 343, 359 


Van Buren, Martin, 164 
Van Devanter, Willis, 79, 82, 83, 86, 97 
Van Nuys, Frederick, 123, 133, 138, 146 
Vandenberg, Arthur H., 48, 188, 211, 237, 

2 43 

Vanderbilt Hotel, 173 
Vargas, Getuilio, 340 
Vermont, 65, 180 
Verplanck's Point, New York, 2 
Vice President, nomination for, 1932, 25 
Virginia, 161 


Wage and Hour bill, 116 
Wagner, Robert F., 31, 79, no, 113, 117, 
125, 131, 132, 147, 148, 204, 270, 347, 

354, 355 

Wagner Act, 79 
Walker, Frank C, 9, 22, 37, 52, 80, 228, 

238, 239* *5<5, 263, *79 3"i 3 2 5 3*7. 

Walker, James J., 29 



Wallace, Henry A., 34, 52, 57, 85, 104, 
115, 132, 184, 201, 208, 227, 231, 238- 
240, 254, 266, 293-295, 298-303, 305, 
309, 318, 321, 326, 329, 330, 345, 349, 
359. 3&>. 3^4, 3<fc, 3<>7, 37*, 373 
nomination for Vice President, 293-306 

Walsh, David I., 204, 224 

Walsh, Thomas J., 17, 21, 28, 33, 36 

War Industries Board, 199 

War Labor Board, 344 

Warm Springs, Georgia, 77, 127-129, 137 

Warsaw, Poland, 193 

Washington, D,C, 228 

Washington Hotel, 230 

Watson, Edwin M., 202, 204, 241, 242, 318, 
325, 340 

Wearin, Otha D., 138 

Welles, Sumner, 103, in, 165, 199, 233, 
2 79> 3V, 343. 3<5i 

West, Charles, 52, do, 61 

Wheeler, Burton K., 16, 25, 28, 74, 78, 94, 
95, 118, 124, 125, 162, 184, 203, 219, 

^ 225, 253. *65, 297, 305, 341 

Wheeler, Mrs. Burton K., 125 

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, 274, 291 

White, George, 13 

White House, Cabinet sworn in at, 37 

White Sulphur Springs, 330 

Whitney, Mrs. Caspar, 169 

Willard, Frances, 167 

Willicombe, Joseph, 24 

Willkie, Wendell, 105, 157, 317, 32I , 326) 

344. 346 348 
nominated by Republicans, 1940, 243, 

244, 252 

Wilson, Hugh R., 156, 198 
Wilson, Samuel D., 133 
Wilson, Woodrow, 69 
Winant, John G., 340 
Woodin, William H., 10, 33, 43 
Woodring, Harry H., 80, 8r, too", 1x5, 

*35 156. 241-243 
Woodruff, Robert W., 323 
Woodrum, Clifton A., 132 
Woodward, Ellen S., 142 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) 
131, 160 * ' 

World Economic Conference, 40 
Wyoming, 162 

Yalta conference, 375-377 
Young, Owen D, 13, 86, 97, 126, 348, 352,